'Nasty jolt' as rare harbour earthquake strikes Wellington

A closeup of a seismograph machine needle drawing a red line on graph paper depicting seismic and eartquake activity on an isolated white background
Photo credit: File

A 3.8 magnitude earthquake has rattled Wellington, startling the city's residents.

The short and sharp earthquake was around 13km deep and centred 10km southeast of Lower Hutt, in the harbour. It struck at around 5:17pm on Tuesday.

Residents have described the quake as feeling "stronger" than a 3.8.

"That was two f**ks on the Swear Scale," Twitter user @verslibre wrote.

User @binkle said it was a "nasty jolt", while @franinboots had a stronger reaction.

"Blimey dingo, that gave me such a fright I almost peed a little!"

Reports on GeoNet range from strong to weak, with the majority reporting feeling light shaking.