'Everyone at home ran for the doors' - 5.1 magnitude earthquake felt by thousands in central New Zealand

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake has been felt widely across the top of the South Island and the bottom of the North Island after hitting 30 kilometres north-east of Seddon in Cook Strait at 2.42pm today.

A stock photo of a recording of an earthquake's seismic waves

More than 3400 people registered feeling the shake on the GeoNet site, which GeoNet describes as "moderate".

Seddon farmer Tim Struthers said he "definitely felt" shaking from the quake.

"I was outside fencing and it shook the posts in the ground, everyone at home ran for the doors," he said.

But Mr Struthers said there was no damage in the house and his family are "almost immune" to earthquakes now.

The response to the quake has also been swift online.

Fiona Greig Tweeted "TePapa just had a wobble on!"

Fire and Police say there have been no calls about any damage.