The 7.1 quake struck north-east of Gisborne on Friday morning local time. Authorities have asked people in the Tolaga Bay area to evacuate their homes. Few damages were reported. But, there were no injuries or casualties.
The quake caused a tsunami but it has had no noticeable impact.
Local civil defence officials said it was now safe Gisborne residents to return, but advised them to stay away from beaches, streams and estuaries, saying the tsunami threat had not entirely lifted.