Julie Vernon's heart is heavy at leaving her family and the city she grew up in.
But she refuses to stay in Christchurch with the fear of what another big earthquake might do to her and her 3-year-old daughter.
Tuesday's quake, coming after the big shake in September and ongoing aftershocks, was the final straw.
She and her daughter, Peyton, have fled to a temporary haven in Nelson, and in the coming days she will leave for a new life in Sydney.
Many are following her lead and seeking new homes elsewhere in New Zealand or overseas.
"I wish I was a millionaire and I could take [my family and friends] all with me," Ms Vernon told the Weekend Herald. "I want to help, but I'm too scared to go home."
Ms Vernon, 27, was at her parents' home with other relatives when the quake hit, and grabbed her young nephew as they scrambled to safety.
She broke the door handle trying to get out. She then ran as fast as she could to her daughter's preschool down the street.
It had been "split open" by the quake.
Her own apartment was flooded, and she fears it may have been contaminated by sewage. Her family still in Christchurch will salvage what they can and send it to her in Sydney.
"I can't go back. I can't put my daughter in that situation again," Ms Vernon said. "It's sad to leave the city that you grew up in. My grandparents are buried in Lyttelton, and that's my favourite place to go to."By Jarrod Booker Email Jarrod