A MAGNITUDE 6.1 earthquake has rocked New Zealand with the impact felt widely across the North Island.

According to Geoscience Australia, a government department, the quake struck about 3.20pm local time with the epicentre about halfway between Wellington and Auckland. GeoNet described the 207km-deep tremor as "strong" and said it was centred 25km southwest of Taumarunui. There were no initial reports of major damage.

The earthquake reportedly lasted for about 30 seconds and caused shaking. An Australian woman visiting the country told news.com.au she felt two shocks about two minutes apart in Wellington.

"It was a bit freaky - there was silence and shaking," one woman wrote on Twitter.

"There was long and slow sideways shaking in Hawke's Bay."

Another wrote: "Felt very strong in Miramar."

"Pictures came off my wall," one man said.

Planes scheduled to land have been diverted and New Zealand's parliament, sitting at the time, was suspended after the prolonged rumble to allow for the precinct's buildings to be checked.

National MP Louise Upston tweeted that it was the "longest one I've felt in chamber".

The NZ Ministry of Ciivil Defence and Emergency Management issued a statement to advise that there was "no tsunami threat to New Zealand" following the quake.

"Remember to Drop Cover and Hold during any aftershocks," the statement read.

 

A magnitude 6 earthquake has rocked New Zealand with the impact felt from Auckland to Wellington
A magnitude 6 earthquake has rocked New Zealand with the impact felt from Auckland to Wellington

The quake does not appear to have been strongly felt in Auckland, where British royals Prince Harry and Meghan had been taking part in a "welly wanging" contest with schoo lchildren.

The couple travelled north to Auckland, for the second-last day of their 16-day royal tour of Australia and the Pacific. They are scheduled to appear in the city's waterfront for a public jaunt this afternoon.

They'll also be joining Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in visiting Pillars, a charity for the children of prisoners, before she hosts them at a lively reception at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

 


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