'It was strong' - Hawke's Bay residents describe being woken by 7.1 magnitude quake

Many residents on the East Coast of the North Island were shaken awake this morning, as a severe 7.1 earthquake struck off the coast, north east of Hawke's Bay.

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Many in Haumoana were awaken from their slumber by the early morning quake. Source: 1 NEWS

Residents in the area were forced to immediately evacuate due to a tsunami threat, but the threat has now been lifted. Residents can return home if they haven't already.

"It was strong but it wasn’t too strong. But we did still evacuate just in case," one man told 1 NEWS after the rumble.

While another described the quake as "slow rocking".

"Just a slow rocking sensation and just longer than normal, woke us up which is unusual," he said.

"It woke me up, I jumped out of bed and stood in the doorway and most of the house was up as well so it was quite strong and it took forever to stop," another resident said.