Residents on the Pacific island, which is governed by France, have been warned to "seek safety" with giant waves expected from underwater aftershocks.
In a statement, Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said: "Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within 1,000km (600 miles) of the epicentre along the coasts of Vanuatu and New Caledonia."
The undersea quake struck off the east coast of the island.
The island shook as the tremor hit 900 miles (1,400km) off the east coast of Australia.
It's epicentre was shallow, at only six miles deep, causing the surface to rumble and shake.
The quake hit 95 miles (155km) southeast of the Loyalty Islands off New Caledonia's east coast.
It was last stricken by a series of 7 magnitude tremors in August.
It added to fears that a "megaquake" could strike after 214 earthquakes hit the planet in a week.
New Caledonia is part of the notorious Ring of Fire, famed for being a hotbed of earthquake activity.
Around 70 quakes are thought to have hit the Ring of Fire – a horseshoe-shaped area of volcanic belts, arcs and tectonic plates.
The area stretches 25,000 miles from South America to Australia via the western United States and East Asia.
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