It is "highly unlikely" anyone would have felt a strong quake that rattled an offshore area east of the country this morning.

GNS seismologist John Ristau said this morning's magnitude-5.0 quake was centered 495km north-east of Gisborne, at a depth of 10km, and struck just after 10am.

It was not likely anyone in the Gisborne area would have felt the quake, he said.

"If it was a closer to shore... of course it would be a fairly sizeable earthquake that a lot of people would feel. But that far off shore it's highly unlikely that anyone would feel it."

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Mr Ristau said there was no tsunami threat as a result of the tremor.

Earlier today, two small quakes were felt on the east of the North Island.

The first woke a handful of people near Whakatane about 1.15am.

The magnitude 2.8 earthquake was 8km deep and classed as "light" by GeoNet.

A weaker quake hit about 20km west of Pongaroa at 6am.

It had a magnitude of 3.3 but was 28km deep.