The long, rumbling quake was upgraded to magnitude-7 soon after it struck off the west coast at 2036 AEST.

It was centred 60km southwest of Opunake in Taranaki at depth of 230km, GNS Science said.

It was followed by a smaller aftershock.

There was no tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.

A Fire Service central communications spokesman told NZ Newswire there were a number of calls but no reports of damage.

Police also received no reports of damage, and a central police spokesman said there was no spike in calls.

The quake was felt hundreds of kilometres away in the Bay of Plenty and Christchurch. It sparked a lot of comment on Twitter, but no-one reported serious damage or injury.

The quake hit nearly 17 months after Christchurch’s February 22 disaster which killed 185 people