South Islanders have been shaken by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake, the strongest tremor to hit New Zealand this year.
The quake was centred in the Ashburton Lakes region of Canterbury, about 120km west of Christchurch, with a shallow depth of 11km.
Originally categorised as a 5.8 magnitude at 9.14am on Wednesday, it was revised to 6.4 and then finally to 6.0 by monitoring agency GNS Science.
"That was not light shaking," dairy farmer Craig Hickman said on social media platform X.
There have been no reports of major damage or injury from nearby towns or properties.
Farmer Sarah Hussey, who has a property about 15km from the epicentre told TVNZ she thought the earthquake was thunder.
"Previously, the house would just shake. But with this quake it felt like it actually lifted up," she said.
"There's no damage here ... everyone's fine and well. We've been out checking header tanks and everything seems fine."
The earthquake was felt by thousands of New Zealanders, including those in Christchurch and Dunedin, 300km south.
More than 13,000 registered the earthquake with GeoNet, run by GNS Science.
Kiwis described the experience as a rolling shaking which lasted more than a minute.
Former Green MP Mojo Mathers was nearby, calling it "way too close for comfort!"
"Peel Forest pretty close to epicentre - whole house shook, cupboard doors swung open, flashbacks to the (Christchurch) quakes."
The devastating 2011 Christchurch earthquake, in which 185 people died, was a similar profile - a 6.2 magnitude at five kilometres underground - to Wednesday's tremor, but much closer to the South Island's biggest city.
That quake continues to haunt many Kiwis, with novelist Rachael King, in Christchurch, expressing a common sentiment of concern with her post.
"That was the kind of #eqnz that makes you worry there's a really big one happening somewhere far away," she said.
Kineta Booker said it was a "biggie" that caused signs to sway in Riccarton Mall in Christchurch.
GeoNet also registered more than two dozen aftershocks. All but one - at 3.6 magnitude - were indiscernible to humans.
GNS Science Seismologist John Ristau told Radio NZ it was not immediately clear which fault was triggered, but it was not the major Alpine Fault, which lies 100km away.