Topic: Earthquake

Update: Inland route to Kaikoura only available to emergency services

By Taroi Black
  • South Island

The inland route to state highway 70 from Kaikoura will not be open to the public due to dangerous conditions. 

Kaikoura Mayor Winston Gray told Te Kaea he was 'hopeful' that the inland road would be used for a convoy taking stranded people out of the affected town after by the 7.8 earthquake on Monday morning.

However, some tourists are wanting to leave immediately.

Gray says, "I understand how difficult this is for them and we're doing the best that we can to get them out."

The inland route is controlled by Civil Defence Emergency.  A significant amount of work has been undertaken by NZTA to make the route accessible.

At 7:30pm last night, 400 backpackers and four dogs were evacuated from Kaikoura by the HMNZS Canterbury vessel and arrived in Lyttelton Port at 1:30am.  Most of the evacuees will camp out at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch.

Spokeswoman of the Christchurch City Council, Claire Phillips has also paid homage to Takahanga Marae.  She says the marae has been the focal point of earthquake support efforts, helping to assist the many people who are still stuck in Kaikoura.

Phillips says, "The manaakitanga by the marae and Ngai Tahu was evident."

Takahanga locals have made 7000 meals in the week since the quake.  CEO of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Julian Wilcox told Te Kaea another 32 staff have flown in to Kaikoura and assess the damages in the community and continue to rescue more families and more tourists.