There was a “moderate” strength earthquake centred offshore from Picton that was also felt in Wellington.
The GeoNet monitoring service said the 5.2 magnitude quake had its epicentre 25 kilometres north-west of Picton and was felt at around 3.14 pm.
It was at a depth of 96 km.
Radio New Zealand said about 8,000 people indicated feeling the earthquake.
The New Zealand Herald reported that most people reporting the quake indicated it as light to weak in strength.
Political editor of the NZ Herald, Audrey Young, felt the earthquake from Parliament Buildings and described it as a short and relatively sharp jolt that lasted about half a second.
The newspaper also said one report of a “quite sharp and short” jolt came from Hawkes Bay.
Sources: geonet.org.nz; radionz.co.nz; nzherald.co.nz