An earthquake in Whanganui has been felt by thousands of people.

Geonet reported a 4.7 magnitude earthquake 5km northwest of Whanganui at 8.09pm. It was 91km deep and more than 5200 people had reported feeling it within the first 10 minutes.

Most of the reports were along the west coast of the North Island from Taranaki down to Wellington with a number of people in Nelson also saying they felt the shake.

A Twitter user in Wellington questioned whether it was an earthquake or wind saying her apartment "got the major shakes just now".

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Another person on social media posted she felt the earthquake while onstage with Nigella Lawson in Wellington.

Geonet orginially also reported a magnitude 6 earthquake at 8.08pm, 10km south-west of Ruatoria. However, that report has since been removed from their website.

The organisation explained that the Whanganui quake came in at the same time as a magnitude 5 earthquake offshore which "confused our system into thinking a quake happened at Ruatoria".