An earthquake close to a small Alpine village in the Awatere Valley has been felt in Nelson, Marlborough and Christchurch this morning.

The shake hit at around 5.40am, 45km south-east of St Arnaud village.

The magnitude 4.5 quake had a depth of 36km, and was described by GeoNet as being moderate in intensity.

Almost 100 people have registered felt reports with GeoNet, some as far away as the Banks Peninsula on the east coast of the South Island, Kaiata on the West Coast, and Takaka to the north.