A strong earthquake was felt by at least 230 people after hitting near Levin this morning, GeoNet says.

The Magnitude-4.3 quake hit when most people were fast asleep at 4.09am.

GeoNet said the quake epicentre was 15 km northwest of Levin and 20km underground.

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GeoNet initially said the earthquake was of a "moderate" intensity but had since updated that assessment.

According to GeoNet data, this morning's quake was the strongest in the lower North Island for at least the past month.