Earthquake rattles New Zealand's coast

LESS than a day after the volcanic eruption on White Island off New Zealand's coast, there's been a "strong" magnitude 5.3 earthquake near Gisborne on the country's North Island.

The shallow quake struck just before 1pm local time, according to information from national geological hazard monitoring system GeoNet.

The jolt was felt in Whakatane, 180 kilometres south of Gisborne, the closest city to White Island where a volcano erupted on Monday killing at least five people.

Another eight were still missing and presumed dead.

GeoNet said the earthquake was unrelated to the eruption at White Island.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said it was a "generous shake" - some shops had reported stock falling off the shelves, and some traffic jams, the NZ Herald reports.   

She felt her car shaking while sitting in traffic.  

Craig Little, mayor of nearby Wairoa, in Hawke's Bay, described the earthquake as a "beauty" saying it was quite severe and long.   

"We were just having a Civil Defence meeting so we had the right people in the room if anything went wrong, but all good. Wairoa certainly felt it."