An accounting software firm with an office in Christchurch was yesterday desperately trying to charter a jet to fly staff home from a conference in Melbourne after the earthquake.
MYOB, which also has offices in Auckland and Australia, said more than 100 staff at its Christchurch base near the airport were upset but unhurt.
"The general feeling was that it was very frightening, a lot more severe than last time. These are very emotional times and for many it is the straw that could break the camel's back," said general manager Julian Smith.
The firm was able to continue from its other offices.
Smith said the Christchurch building suffered some superficial damage and would be inspected by structural engineers.
About 14 Christchurch-based staff were at the conference and they were anxious to get home.
Smith said any business owners affected by the quake should first ensure they and their families were safe and then keep their clients updated on the position of their business.