Thousands of people have been shaken awake after a "hard and sharp" earthquake jolted the lower North Island early this morning.

The 4.8 magnitude quake rattled residents just after 4.35am on Wednesday, and was centred 25km deep, 10km southwest of Dannevirke.

Thousands of residents in the lower North Island felt the early morning shake, reported GeoNet.

One Newstalk ZB listener rang in after being jolted awake near Woodville. "You could hear it coming, I was awake unfortunately, being upstairs it was really shaking."

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Others from Palmerston North said they also felt it.

"I'm from Palmerston North and it was nice and sharp here," one person posted on social media.

The earthquake was also described as "sharp" as far away as Whanganui.

"Hit twice, hard and sharp where I am," one person wrote on social media.

Others were not so impressed by Mother Nature's alarm clock.

"Damn earthquake, you suck waking me this early, grrr not impressed."

Some made do with the early wake-up.

"Good shake in Waiouru, so yes, we are up, and had a cuppa."

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One person in Hawke's Bay said it was a "real sharp jolt".

Another said there were two quakes about an hour apart. "Felt two this morning an hour apart, second one was huge."