5.8 quake jolts people awake

A magnitude 5.8 quake was felt widely throughout Manawatu and much of New Zealand this morning and was followed by a swarm of smaller tremors.

The larger quake struck at 7.19am. It was 175 kilometres deep and centred 20km south east of Tokoroa. 

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It was felt widely throughout New Zealand, particularly in the central North Island and in Wellington, where people reported it as being moderate or strong, GeoNet reported.

It was felt as far north as Kerikeri and as far south as Southland, where it was described as "light".

Nearly 10,000 people have reported feeling the quake on the GeoNet website.

Rachael Hurrell wrote on the Manawatu Standard Facebook page: "Felt in Palmy. I always fly outta bed coz you never know if it will intensify. Paranoid with good reason, we moved from Chc for less action!"

Mark-Leonard-Jones wrote: "It felt like one earthquake with 2 big waves... quite a decent shake... made me nervous thats for sure."

The quake wasn't described as violent, but people have said beds shook against walls, some ornaments fell from shelves and they were frustrated at being awake - having hoped for a Saturday sleep in.

The magnitude 5.8 quake was one of 28 quakes, ranging from magnitude 1.2 to 5.8, so far today, according to GeoNet. Most would have been unnoticed but GeoNet described some as weak and the 5.8 as moderate.

Five of those quakes have been centred near Tokoroa. 

A 3.7 tremor which struck just four minutes after the 5.8 quake, was also widely felt throughout the North Island. It was centred 15km east of Tokoroa and was 198km deep.

Five more quakes have followed, another magnitude 2.6 quake was centred just north of Tokoroa and a 2.9 quake which struck at 7.31am was 15km south of Tauranga.

Smaller quakes were centred near Whanganui and Murupara. 

Fairfax Media