An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale was recorded at 10.39pm Tuesday.

The Geological & Nuclear Sciences website said the quake was at a depth of 150km and centred 800km north east of Auckland, near the Kermadec Islands. It was felt widely in the North Island and as far south as Ashburton.

GNS duty seismologist, Ken Gledhill, says the quake would have been felt as a strong rolling motion which lasted for at least half a minute.

A seismologist at Victoria University says the depth of the earthquake mitigated its impact. Professor Ewan Smith told Morning Report that the quake did not cause damage because it was so deep and so far away. He said there was also little chance of a tsunami.

Quake rocks western Indonesia

An undersea earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale rocked Indonesia's remote Nias Island on Tuesday.

The Bureau of Meteorology and Geophysics said the epicentre of the quake lay in the Indian Ocean at a depth of 33km, about 110km southwest of the town of Teluk Dalam town.

Earthquakes are frequent in Indonesia: its 17,000 islands are part of what is called the Pacific Ring of Fire.

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.8 quake struck at 1528 GMT. It said there was no risk of a major tsunami.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the earthquake was not expected to trigger a major tsunami.

Previous quake damage

In March, 2005, a powerful earthquake devastated Nias Island, killing some 1,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

It was three months after a powerful undersea quake off the northern tip of Sumatra caused a devastating tsunami and wrought widespread destruction on December 26, 2004.