Earthquakes hit New Zealand's North Island

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook the east coast of New Zealand's North Island on Saturday night, followed by a group of smaller quakes.

The strongest quake was 195km north of Te Araroa and 294km deep about 5.15pm.

GeoNet said the quake had a "moderate" intensity and said it was felt from the Bay of Plenty to Canterbury.

WeatherWatch said it had reports of the quake being felt in Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne, Masterton, Palmerston North, Bay of Plenty and Christchurch.

The earthquake was followed by other weaker tremors, including a 4.2-magnitude quake 102km deep about 50km north of Te Araroa at 7.30pm, a 3.5-magnitude quake 5km deep near Opunake shortly after midnight, and a 3.5-magnitude quake 50km deep near Levin about 1am.

GeoNet said all of the earthquakes were "likely felt" but most were "weak".