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Wellington and Christchurch felt the impact of an earthquake measuring 6.3 which hit central New Zealand today.

The quake, centred in the Nelson region, occurred at a depth of 80 kilometres, 45 kilometres east of the village of St Arnaud, on the north of the South Island, at 3.36pm local time.

GeoNet, which provides geological hazard information for New Zealand, described the quake as being of strong intensity.

It prompted nationwide outage on mobile phones, internet and landlines due to increased traffic, according to local media reports.

Rail and metro services were subject to safety checks in the wake of the quake which reportedly shook buildings.

GeoNet said the quake was likely to be linked to two other earthquakes which shook the country the previous day, located in the Marlb