Two earthquakes have rattled the Central North Island tonight, shaking houses, smashing crockery and knocking pictures from walls.

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has been reported near Turangi in the Central North Island.

GeoNet recorded the moderate earthquake just after 7pm this evening at a depth of 5km, and positioned 15km northeast of Turangi.

Paul Sandhu from Caltex Te Rangiita said he felt a very strong earthquake just after 7pm, saying there was some damage in the shop when grocery items fell down and beer and wine bottles were broken.

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The quake was followed a few minutes later by a 4.4 magnitude shake, at 11km in depth.

Reports on the GeoNet website show the shakes have been felt as far south as Wellington, with some reports also in the upper South Island.

More than 4000 "felt" reports have been recorded on the website so far for the 5.2 quake, with the farthest coming from Dunedin.

"Hearing big earthquake, Taupō houses shaking badly," a Herald reader wrote.

The Turangi Fire Brigade also took to social media to alert people to the shakes.

"Wow who felt that! We certainly did!" it said on Facebook.

Residents commenting on the Turangi Noticeboard have said the 5.2 shake was the worst felt in the region.

One person said it had "quite a jolt and rattle for approximately 1-2 minutes" while she said it was "the strongest I have felt for a long time. It really shook the house this time".

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Others commented that it "gave us a real fright" and "had a bit of a roll to it", while one person counted themselves lucky they had a big table to hide under;

"Lucky we got a table for eight so we can all fit under it if it gets worse," they wrote.

A Herald reader in Hastings said her rocking horse rocked from the shake, while another in Whanganui said his wardrobe rattled. In Taumarunui a woman said she fell off her bed.