The 5.8 magnitude earthquake was 37 kms deep and the epicenter was 30 km northwest of Levin, a city in New Zealand's North Island close to the capital Wellington, according to Geonet.
Geonet first classified the earthquake as magnitude 5.9. Although no damages were reported it lasted for more than 30 seconds and caused panic in Wellington with several people in offices and homes getting under their tables for cover.
The tremors started as Ardern was on TV from the parliament building, called the beehive due to its shape.
"Quite a decent shake here ... if you see things moving behind me. The beehive moves a little more than most," she joked on the AM Show on Newshub.