A magnitude 5.4 earthquake north-west off the coast of Paraparaumu has broken a GeoNet record for the most "felt reports" the agency has ever received for an earthquake.

The shake occurred yesterday at 11.45pm and was felt by more than 26,500 people from Christchurch to Auckland.

A resident living in Whitby, a large suburb of Porirua, told the Herald the earthquake shook his house in what he described as a low rumble.

"The whole house was moving for about five seconds," Olof Smith said.

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One person in Palmerston North said on Twitter they heard the noise and then the house shook, "like a large freight train passing".

The central Fire and Emergency New Zealand service were not called to any reports of damage following the quake.

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It was the second earthquake recorded off the West Coast of the North Island last night.

Just a few hours earlier a magnitude 4.7 earthquake with a 50km depth struck in the same area and was felt by more than 3700 people.

Another earthquake, with a 2.6 magnitude, struck near Wellington at 8.37am today.

Last night's 5.4 earthquake is now the record holder for the most "felt reports" GeoNet has ever received for a quake.

The previous record holder was the disastrous 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, when GeoNet received 15,840 felt reports.

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During the 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake more than 20 faults were activated - 14 of which ruptured violently enough to displace land by more than a metre.