A strong earthquake rattled New Zealand's lower North Island including the capital Wellington on Monday, although there were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.

The United States Geological Survey reported the magnitude 6.3 quake struck at 3:52 p.m. local time, about 38 kilometers (24 miles) northeast of the town of Masterton. Many Wellington residents were at home because it was a public holiday in the region.

A giant eagle sculpture in Wellington's airport, placed there to promote director Peter Jackson's movie trilogy "The Hobbit," fell from its overhead perch to the floor.

New Zealand lies on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire," an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.

An earthquake in the city of Christchurch in 2011 destroyed much of the downtown and killed 185 people.