An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale hit New Zealand's Christchurch city on Friday morning, Xinhua reported.

According to China's Xinhua news agency there were no reports of injuries or damage, following the earthquake that occurred at 5.39 am local time (17.39 GMT on Thursday).

The quake was centred 40 km west of the city, at a depth of 12 km, said New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS).

"The earthquake was felt along the east coast of the South Island from North Canterbury to Dunedin" said the GNS duty seismologist Caroline Holden.

Holden further added that a few more magnitude four quakes are expected in the following days.

Meanwhile, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority said it was checking a cross-section of buildings for damage.

In February, Christchurch, New Zealand's second largest city after Auckland was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. It killed 165 people and left parts of the city in ruins.