The shallow quake struck 25km south of Gisborne just before 1pm. It was widely felt in Whakatāne, which is still reeling from the volcanic eruption.
It was 29km deep and felt as far afield as Cambridge, Hunterville, Dannevirke and even Wellington.
Geonet says the earthquake is not related to the White Island eruption and has confirmed it did not trigger a tsunami. Police said there had not yet been any reports of injuries or damage.