Vital supplies keep pouring in to Kaikoura on Tuesday after many in the town were made homeless by Monday's 7.5 magnitude earthquake.
Kaikoura Mayor Winston Gray estimates there is around 24 hours' worth of water left in the town's reservoirs.
But New Zealand Defence Force NH90 helicopters brought in more than three tonnes of water on Tuesday, as well as food, hygiene items and diesel.
More water will be brought into the town on Wednesday, and the NZ Fire Service has a desalination kit that is set up and operating locally.
Weather conditions delayed some flights into the quake-hit town early on Tuesday, but by early evening around 140 people had been evacuated, with nearly 200 people expected to be flown to Christchurch by the end of the day.
Among the evacuees are 11 campers, including two babies, at Kaikoura's Goose Bay campground.
"The earthquake has cut off land access to Kaikoura and disrupted power and water supplies," says Wing Commander Scott McKenzie.
"So we've been delivering food, water, diesel fuel and other basic necessities the entire day, and evacuating people out of there."
Around 5000kg of aid supplies in Christchurch have been set aside for Kaikoura by the Defence Force, Ministry of Civil Defence and Red Cross.
Additional aircraft and vessels have also been mobilised in response to the quake.
"We have been working with the Ministry of Civil Defence to ensure the lifelines and basic needs of the Kaikoura community are met," says Air Commodore Darryn Webb.
Defence Force personnel rescue campers from Goose Bay (NZDF/supplied)
International partners are also chipping in to help with the earthquake response. Aerial surveillance aircraft from the United States and Japan will be conducting aerial surveys of quake-damaged regions.
Hundreds of Defence Force personnel are involved in the relief efforts, as well as at least eight aircraft and two ships.
The HMNZS Canterbury is expected to arrive in Kaikoura at around 9am on Wednesday, while offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington, with a Littoral Warfare unit is due to arrive at 5am.