Tremors from a magnitude 5.1 quake close to Marlborough Sounds this morning were felt across Central New Zealand.

The 80km-deep earthquake struck off the west coast of the North Island at 10.02am. It was located 50km north of French Pass.

Fire, police and ambulance said they had not received any calls regarding the quake.

More than 3800 people have reported feeling it on the GeoNet website.


GeoNet seismologist Caroline Little said the quake was of light intensity and threat of aftershocks was low.

"The effects have been felt as far away as Auckland because the deeper the quake, the wider it spreads," she said.

"But although it was felt in places such as Wellington, Auckland, Taranaki and Hamilton, it was nothing too major.

"I wouldn't expect serious damage to have been caused."

Taranaki man Les Parish, from Waitara, told Newstalk ZB the quake shattered two window panes at his house.

"All of a sudden the whole house started rocking backwards and forwards and then a crack came in the window.

"I thought, 'gee, what's happening here?'... and then another crack came in the window beside it. And I thought, 'oh that's a ruddy earthquake'."

Parish has lived alone with his dog in Waitara for the past nine years and has never felt an earthquake before.

He said he was talking with people just recently about how they don't have earthquakes in that part of the country.

"Thank God for that, we have a mountain here that looks after us," he said.

A Fire Service spokesman said he felt it, but they were not attending any incidents related to the earthquake and they hadn't been contacted by anyone who was affected by it.