A 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck hundreds of kilometres off the Bay of Plenty coast has fooled New Zealand's automated quake monitoring system.
The large tremor hit around 8am today and was located 850km northeast of Whakatane at a depth of 366km.
It triggered a series of false earthquake readings in Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty with initial GeoNet reports suggesting that a trio of earthquakes had hit the region.
But GeoNet seismologist John Ristau said deep earthquakes had a tendency to fool their automated system even though they are often felt quite a large distance from the epicentre.
The quake was felt as far away as Christchurch.