Kaikoura residents desperate to escape tough conditions

The HMNZS Canterbury (Newshub.)
The HMNZS Canterbury (Newshub.)

A break in the weather meant the Defence Force was able to make a few more evacuations today.

The HMNZS Canterbury delivered some tired and shaken human cargo to the safety of Lyttelton in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Those leaving weren't tourists though, they were Kaikoura residents desperate to get out, like Jade Hines and her son Ivan.

After three days stuck in Kaikoura the wait for freedom was over, and it means life can finally return to normal for the passengers.

"They were really accommodating, and any requests, they tried to fulfill which was awesome," says passenger Daniel Cooper.

The journey took five hours down the port of Lyttelton after spending ten hours loading off the Kaikoura Coast.

Once onboard the passengers were well-fed and watered - and stuck in the hold for the rolling trip south, happy to escape the earthquake aftermath.

"We've been well-fed, well-watered, well-looked after, people have had a good opportunity to sleep for the last couple of hours, " says welfare officer Claire Philips.

Twelve buses shuttled the evacuees to a makeshift welfare centre at the Horncastle Arena.

The other 187 travellers with no place to go were offered free accommodation at the Canterbury University halls of residence along with much-needed warm beds and hot showers.

"After three days of porta-potties, and no running water - I took a swim, that's how I took my bath in those three days. I'm looking forward to being clean," says American tourist Susan diRende.

Now clean, and with some good old-fashioned Kiwi hospitality giving these quake survivors memories they will never forget.