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Magnitude 5.5 quake shakes New Zealand

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/12/2016

A magnitude 5.5 quake has shaken the upper South Island and lower North Island of New Zealand but hasn't done any damage.

The quake occurred about 4.15pm (1415 AEDT) on Sunday and was recorded as having a severe intensity at its epicentre by monitoring organisation GeoNet.

It was at a depth of 12km and was centred 10km east of Seddon, a small town in Marlborough.

Marlborough District Council mayor John Leggett told AAP he was at the Picton Christmas parade when the quake occurred.

"We were down on the foreshore and we definitely felt it. It was pretty significant," he said.

He's been seeking information about any damage but hasn't received any reports yet.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard McLean says "emergency controllers have been talking to each other" but there are no reports of damage in the capital.

Council staff are checking with contractors demolishing a high-rise building in Molesworth Street, damaged in previous quakes, to see if there are any issues with it.

GNS Science duty seismologist Bill Fry told AAP the quake was part of a sequence of aftershocks following the 7.8 quake on November 14.

"It's in an a location that we've seen a lot of other earthquakes. It was quite large," he said.

He said at the epicentre of the quake the ground shaking would have been severe.

About 6892 people, mostly in the upper South Island and throughout the lower North Island, registered with GeoNet that they felt the quake.

It also triggered a relatively moderate quake in the Hawke's Bay region at about the same time, Mr Fry said.

The Hawke's Bay quake, centred 25km south of Hastings, was initially recorded at 4.8 but was downgraded to 3.

Thousands of aftershocks have been recorded since the 7.8 quake three weeks ago, which isolated the South Island coastal settlement of Kaikoura and altered the landscapes around it

The Fire Service says there have been no damage reports yet from the aftershocks on Sunday.

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