A strong 5.8 earthquake has rattled the top of the South Island, and lower North Island tonight.
GeoNet said the quake was centred about 30 km north-east of French Pass, at the north end of Tasman Bay
It hit at 9.07pm, and was about 51km deep.
In the 15 minutes following the earthquake more than 44,000 people registered on the GeoNet website that they had felt the shaking.
The highest group of respondents in that time, 8145 people, said it felt like moderate shaking – which GeoNet described as an earthquake strong enough to wake most sleepers, with some objects shifting about, and some breaking of glasses and crockery.
Meanwhile, residents at the top of the South Island were worried the earthquake might cause more landslides.
French Pass resident Jude Sonneland said she was watching TV when the quake struck.
“There was a sudden really big jolt like a truck had hit the house and then some shaking which gradually eased off but it felt like a big earthquake.
“We’ve got neighbours ringing around to make sure everyone’s OK. We’re all concerned about the slips – are they going to move again. There’s a bit of anxiety out there.”
Wild weather last month saw flooding, road closures, slips and a state of emergency declared in Marlborough.
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