Kaikoura quake recovery continues in Wellington

One year later, Wellington is still coming to grips with the effects of the Kaikoura earthquake.

Large-scale demolitions have taken place, but there's still plenty of work to do.

Wellington was hundreds of kilometres away from the epicentre, but the city still shook long and hard. 

"You know, we were lucky there were no casualties in Wellington," said Wellington City Council chief resilience officer Mike Mendonca. "-We got a good shake."

There were no casualties, but in the weeks after the quake, the true scale of damage in Wellington became clear. 

"We did have to look closely at a bunch of buildings we thought might have been damaged," said Mr Mendonca."Turns out they were more damaged than we had known." 

Forty-five CBD buildings were found to have sustained "significant" damage.

This includes the former home of the Ministry of Defence and 61 Molesworth Street - an 11 story office block that's since been knocked down and replaced by a car park.

The council says eight major buildings have now been demolished, six are in the process of being demolished, and five sit vacant and continue to be accessed.

Another victim has been the capital's port, which was badly hit.

"It's been a tough year, and the staff here have been working very, very hard to get the port up and running," said Centreport CEO Derek Nind.

Uneven and unstable land continues to be a problem, with demolition work continuing on a section of wharf shunted by the quake. 

Mr Nind says the port's "modified" operations are proving successful. 

A recently completed $28 million project allowed two of the port's giant ship-to-shore cranes to recommence work

"For me, the big thing is that the port supports 21,000 jobs across central New Zealand," said Mr Nind. "The staff here have done an amazing job to make sure the port keeps operating."

Centreport still has plenty of demolition work to carry out, most notably Statistics House.

Nind says demolition work will soon begin and could take up to six weeks. 

"We'll start the work in the Christmas break, when there are less people," he said

There is still plenty to be done around Wellington - 700 buildings remain earthquake prone.

Of those, nearly 200 are residential, the owners still grappling with the cost of expensive strengthening work required under new rules.


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