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A 5.2 magnitude earthquake rattled southern Hawke's Bay this afternoon, with reports of it being felt as far away as Wanganui.
GeoNet says the quake struck at 2.01pm, and was centred 25km north-east of Porangahau at a depth of 40km.
Seismologists described the intensity as 'moderate'.
It was followed by a swarm of smaller tremors in the same area, including a 4.1 magnitude at 2.05pm, a 3.6 at 2.08pm and another 3.6 a minute later.
The aftershocks were preliminary measurements.
A Central Hawke's Bay Mail staff member, based in Waipukurau, said it was the worst she had felt, while another described it as being as strong as some she had experienced in Christchurch.
"It was very violent, it was just really quick, very short - really strong.
"It was so quick I didn't have a chance to get under my desk - my heart is still pounding. It's the biggest earthquake I remember feeling in 60 years.''
The earthquake was felt in Wanganui as a sharp jolt and rumble, and people took to social media to document the tremor.
Gareth Pearce, who tweeted that he was at the centre of the quake in Waipukurau, said: "I can tell you, it came hard & fast!''
One man said there was a "good shake in Palmy'', while another said it was "wobbly in Wanganui''.
Josh in Napier said the city had "a bit of a shake'' and the aftershocks were making him dizzy.
Nicola Gaston described the quake as a "good slow rocking'', while Kirstin W said some items in her home had fallen onto the floor and the shaking had made the door jam shut.
Many were using the hashtag #eqnz to tweet their experiences.
In Dannevirke, the first quake came as a shock followed by two milder "rolling'' aftershocks, but there were no reports of damage at this stage.
"It's just given people a bit of a shock, first one was a bit of a jolt second was more rolling,'' local reporter Christine McKay said.