Things looking up for quake-hit Kaikoura

Signs in Kaikoura (Getty)
Signs in Kaikoura (Getty)

If there was a silver lining to Monday's earthquake, it would be having an international navy fleet to call on.

Two-hundred-and-sixteen tonnes of supplies moved from the HMNZS Canterbury.

Ships, crews and maritime helicopters provided by the United States, Australia and Canada all joined forces to ferry food, water, portable toilets, generators and fuel.

It was a slick military operation, efficiently getting the job done and in the process winning hearts and minds.

"That's the big thing for us, showing the public that we're here to help we're doing our best to get supplies in and really helping out the area," Lieutenant Commander Christiaan Robertson said.

Throughout the day, locals watched the steady stream of supplies arriving, and you could feel the lift it gave this battered community.

Newshub asked locals what it meant to the people of Kaikoura to see these choppers arriving.

"Oh this is so great and it shows that we are being supported and that other countries have our backs and we can start to get back on track and rebuild our lives," Isobel Scott said.

The international crews were meant to be in Auckland celebrating the our Navy's 75th anniversary, but came to the party in a much different fashion.

Like Leading Seaman Jeff Dubinsky from the HMCS Vancouver.

"We've been away from home for six months on a deployment and this is a first opportunity to do this kind of work and the crew's excited to do this kind of work," he said.

Around 20 personnel from each of the visiting ships came ashore today, others would have loved the opportunity

"There's roughly 300 sailors back on USS Sampson who would be overjoyed to come ashore and do as much as they possibly could," Chief Damage Controlman Michael Penny said.

Australian soldiers were part of the foot patrols checking on residents. Able seaman Lisanne Hyland was happy to put aside the trans-Tasman rivalry.

"It's good to be able to help our neighbour country, I'm sure they'd do it for us if the same thing happened,"

As well as lifting cargo from the Canterbury, the Defence Force is offering passage back to Christchurch for any residents who want to leave.

A 28-truck military aid convoy arrived on Friday afternoon bringing among its cargo an entire field kitchen to be set up at the hospital. And also the hope the inland road may soon be open to civilian traffic.