Two earthquakes hit New Zealand

Central New Zealand has been rocked by two earthquakes with "moderate shaking" having a widespread effect.

Magnitude 6.1 earthquake strikes south of New Zealand

Magnitude 6.1 earthquake strikes south of New Zealand

The first was a magnitude 5.8 earthquake at depth of 33km, which struck 585km south-west off the Invercargill coast, on the South Island at 1.43pm local time.

Residents in Balclutha, Gore, Invercargill, Lumsden, Roxburgh, Te Anau and Tuatapere reported feeling shaking, according to GeoNet.

The earthquakes struck off the South Island. Source: USGS

But it was the second earthquake an hour later that was most widespread, felt across the Wellington region and at the top of the South Island.

The 5.1 magnitude quake, 17 kilometres deep, hit 30km northeast of Seddon, between New Zealand's North and South Islands, GeoNet confirmed.

It was initially classified as a strong quake, but has since been downgraded to moderate.

More than 3000 people registered that they felt it, according to the organisation's website.

There were no tsunami warnings issued immediately after.

Metlink said on Twitter that trains out of the capital will be running at reduced speeds, so small delays should be expected.

On social media, people from Wainuiomata to Whitby, Thorndon to Paraparaumu said they felt the jolt.

A number of office workers in Wellington reported two sharp rumbles.

Map shows the location of the earthquake south-west of Invercargill and reported effects. Picture: GeoNet

Anna-Lisa Parsons said it "felt slow and roll-y down by Midland Park [central Wellington]".

No damage has been reported in either earthquake.

New Zealand authorities reminded residents to "drop, cover, and hold" in the event of an earthquake.

The earthquakes come just hours after Mexico was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, killing at least 226 people.

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