First residents under Kaikoura quake dam return home
Some residents of the small Kaikōura settlement of Goose Bay have been allowed to return home after earthquake damage forced them to leave a week ago - but many homeowners were in no rush to go back.
Murray Campbell unpacked after 10 days away from home - the Goose Bay resident one of a handful of allowed to return to their homes.
It's a lonely exercise.
"Me, my sister and brother in law are the only ones here at the moment. Others will filter back I'm sure - there's some coming back tomorrow," Mr Campbell said.
The problem is out of sight - high in the hills, a slip brought down by the earthquake has dammed a massive 300m-long lake on the Ote Makura stream.
On Thursday night, Civil defence told residents of 12 homes high on the terrace that they are now safe to return.
"The GNS scientists have been back had a look and made the calculationthat some of those houses on the terraces which are a little bit higher are okay to be reoccupied," said Civil Defence controller Neville Reilly.
Lower in the valley, it's a different story for 17 properties - they're in the firing line, and if the dam bursts a wall of water could come rushing down the hills, inundating everything in its path. The rain is not helping the cause.
Civil Defence will continue to monitor the situation, but it could be a week before the remaining homeowners are allowed back.
Mr Campbell is thankful to be one of the early arrivals.
"At the first meeting, everyone sort of poo-pooed it - but these people probably know more than us," he said.
And if his neighbours choose to stay away longer, he could be enjoying a very peaceful Christmas indeed.