Strong earthquake on West Coast

Reefton's residents were rocked by a violent shake and a loud bang when a shallow 4.2 magnitude quake struck the inland West Coast township this afternoon.

According to Geonet, the quake occurred at 3.23pm and was centred 10km east of Reefton. It measured 5km deep and its intensity was described as "strong".

By 4.30pm, 40 people had posted on the Geonet website saying they felt the jolt from as far away as Karamea, almost 200km to the north of Reefton, and Kumara, 100km to the south.

Constable Mark Watson, officer-in-charge of Reefton police, said he had received no calls about any earthquake-related injuries or damage.

He was in the police station when the quake hit and described it as "a very violent shake with quite a loud noise to it".

He knew roading contractors had planned to do some blasting at a corner near Reefton so when it happened, he assumed that was the cause but only later discovered it was a quake.

"I thought it was more of an explosion ... It was just like that. Pretty short and sharp."

The only quake call he had received was from his daughter checking he was safe.

The Press