The co-ordinator of the Hawke's Bay's Civil Defence Group, Nigel Simpson, says the earthquake felt at Porangahau on Tuesday is a sharp reminder of the need for people to be prepared.
The quake, which measured 5.2 on the Richter scale, and was centred 20 kilometres southeast of the coastal community, struck at 10.48am.
GNS Science says there is no relation between this quake and the Christchurch earthquakes.
There are no reports of damage, but Mr Simpson says it was felt strongly enough for people to shelter in doorways or under dining-room tables, as objects fell off shelves.
He says it was a reminder that at the very least every household should have water stored, a battery-powered radio and a torch.
A smaller quake occurred earlier, at 10.03am. Centred 30 kilometres east of Waipawa, at a depth of 40 kilometres, it was 3.6 in magnitude 3.6.