A 7.4 magnitude earthquake has struck off the east coast of New Zealand early today and has been widely felt by thousands.
Despite initial fears of a tsunami after the quake occurred at 12.50am - and social media reports that some residents had moved to higher ground in some areas - officials later said there was no threat.
The earthquake, 710km northeast of Gisborne and 33km deep, was listed as "weak" by GeoNet but was felt across much of the east coast including Hawke's Bay.
More than 8900 people - including residents in Napier, Hastings, Gisborne, Bay of Plenty and Wellington - registered feeling the quake at 12.50am.
Herald readers across New Zealand - including Auckland, Coromandel and Christchurch -also reported feeling it.
Chatham Islands resident Matt McKay says it's the first quake he's ever experienced on the islands.
"I was sitting at the sofa, and I thought, 'what the devil's that?'. There was no noise with it, but the sofa felt like someone was in the back hitting it with their fists.
"I could feel the sofa was moving. I got up and I could feel it on the floor. It went on for about a minute and a half there."
Newstalk ZB caller Jo felt it in Gisborne.
"It was a sharp left to right. There wasn't a little tremor - it came on quite suddenly and everything was swinging."
Tony felt it in Foxton, in Horowhenua, on the other side of the North Island.
"The building shook, a big rumble came up, and it kept rumbling for a long time. It was a real long one. It was about a minute."
"Our house was jolted pretty darned hard," said one Twitter user.
"Slow and rolling, not violent shaking," said another.
Terry Edwards of Gisborne told the Herald the quake shook the "bejesus out of the house", though he'd felt worse shakes before.
The Civil Defence national emergency management agency issued an advisory shortly after to say it was reviewing any tsunami threat and advised residents in coastal areas to monitor media for updates, stay out of the water and stay off beaches, and not to go sightseeing.
At 1.45am, it issued a statement saying: "Based on current information, the initial assessment is that the earthquake is unlikely to have caused a tsunami that will affect New Zealand."
However, it said: "New Zealand coastal areas may experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore."
International media had initially reported a tsunami alert had been issued as part of the UNESCO/IOC Pacific Tsunami warning and mitigation system which said: "Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within 300km of the epicentre."
However, the alert was quickly downgraded.
The Friday morning rattle follows a strong quake which struck the eastern Bay of Plenty this week.
The 5.1 magnitude quake was 10km southwest of Te Kaha, at a depth of 28km, about 5.30am on Tuesday.
It was the first of four quakes reported southwest of Te Kaha on Tuesday, ranging from 2.9 to 5.1 in magnitude.
The majority of those who felt Tuesday's quake said it was a "light" shake, while almost 300 people described it as moderate.
Dozens of people - up to 32 - however, said it was a strong shake, while one called it "extreme".
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