A 5.4 magnitude earthquake has struck 30km east of Wairoa, in the north of Hawke's Bay.

The quake struck off the coast at 6.16pm and was felt in central and eastern regions of the North Island.

Geonet said it was strong and had a depth of 25km.

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence and Emergency Management public information adviser Rachel Schicker said there have been no reports of any damage to buildings or people.

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"With the magnitude of the quake, we are not expecting anything," she said.

"There could be things falling over, things falling off shelves, that sort of thing."

She said there was also no risk of a tsunami because the quake was centred in the neck of sea between the Mahia Peninsula and the mainland, where big waves were unlikely to develop.

Jan Little, wife of Wairoa Mayor Craig Little, said a picture fell off the wall at their home 37km northwest of Wairoa township.

"It was quite strong, actually. Things were rattling, and when it stopped it was like, 'Is the big one coming?'" she said.

She said the shake lasted for 30 to 40 seconds and she quickly got under a table. "I was actually sitting on the floor so I moved under the table," she said.

A worker at the Mahia store who asked to be called just Jenny said it was the biggest shake she had felt in her 62 years.

"It was just nasty," she said.

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"I actually ran outside."

But she said there was no damage and no one had been hurt.

"There is no damage here at the store. The hotel is across the road from us and everything is good there," she said.

"We are all fine up here. Half the people who've been in didn't even know it had happened. No sirens have gone up. It's just another day in paradise - they breed us tough up here."

Rocket Lab's head of communications Morgan Bailey said there was no damage to the company's launch site on the Mahia Peninsula.

"We have spoken to the launch complex manager and there are no issues with them or their facilities at this stage, although it's obviously pretty immediately following the shake," she said.

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The next launch, for a commercial small satellite manufacturer Astro Digital, is scheduled for a 14-day window beginning on October 15, depending on weather conditions.

GNS Science duty seismologist Dr Jonathan Hanson said GNS had not received any reports of damage and he would not expect any with a quake of this magnitude and depth.

"There could be things falling over but no structural damage," he said.

"This quake is in keeping with typical seismicity in the region. In the last 20 years there have been 10 magnitude 5 or greater events at around that depth."

The last such quake was in May further east of Wairoa.

He said there was also no risk of a tsunami because of the quake's magnitude and depth. He said a tsunami could be generated even in relatively protected water such as the neck of sea between the Mahia Peninsula and the mainland if a quake was big enough, but this one wasn't.

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"It was a bit of a fright," he said. "These quakes should always be taken as reminders to be as prepared as possible for any potential quakes."