There have been no reports of damage across New Zealand after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake rattled the lower North Island this afternoon, Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi says.
Shortly after 3 pm this afternoon, the quake struck 25km south-west of Taumarunui.
Geonet says nearly 15,700 people felt the quake from as far away as Auckland and Bluff.
Not long after the shake, Deputy Speaker of the House Anne Tolley evacuated the chamber while she "took some Civil Defence advice".
MPs made their way back into the House half an hour later after it was deemed safe to return.
Faafoi, who was in the House at the time, said it was evacuated "for the safety of the people in the House".
He said Tolley's decision was "probably the right thing to do", given the circumstances and how heavily it was felt in the House.
"The quake was felt quite widely across the Central-North Island," he told a media conference this afternoon.
He said the Ministry of Civil Defence got in touch with the Manawatu/ Wanganui Civil Defence group and confirmed there had been no reports of any damage at this stage.
"We are still making sure we work through the process of contacting everyone to see if there is any."
But if there was anything major – "we would have probably heard about it by now."
He said Civil Defence would continue to check to makes sure there was no damage.
Faafoi said the quake was a "timely reminder of some of the basics in and around dropping, covering and holding."
There were no tsunami threats as a result of the quake, he confirmed to media.
But he said when there are decent sized quakes, such as the one felt today, aftershocks are often expected.
"We're asking people to be vigilant and make sure you're checking on your neighbours, friends and family."
He said it had "obviously given people a bit of a shake."
He was not aware of any increased risk of volcanic activity as a result of the quake and thus far, there had been no reports of this being the case.