ROCKED: The earthquake struck shortly before midnight in the capital
Hundreds of thousands of people have been rocked by a strong earthquake in New Zealand's capital.

The magnitude 4.7 quake Wellington at around 11pm local time (10am UK time).

Although the epicentre was 26km west of the capital, locals said it was felt strongly in the city.

One local wrote on Twitter: "Holy s**t just felt that earthquake (I'm in Wellington). Gave me a big fright!"

Another said: "Just had one heck of a good shake here in Wellington, hotel rocking and rolling, hope everyone is OK"

The city is home to 412,000 people, more than the 396,000 living in Christchurch where a devastating quake struck six years ago.

This quake left 185 dead in what became New Zealand's fifth deadliest disaster.

Today's seismic movement also came, eerily, almost exactly a year since two were killed after a magnitude 7.8 quake struck nearby Kaikoura.

New Zealand is prone to earthquakes as the country sits on major fault lines along the Ring of Fire.

This is a belt running around the Pacific Ocean where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Fortunately no reports of serious injuries have emerged from today's quake in Wellington.