Civil Defence groups are going to Kaikoura to help with the response.

Shane Bayley, from Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, said the Canterbury Civil Defence people will support the Fire Service, including going door to door.

Two vessels, including the HMNZS Canterbury, are heading south and will arrive in Kaikoura tomorrow.

The Chinese Government has also chartered a helicopter to get Chinese nationals out of the town.

Advertisement

Four NH90 helicopters are also ferrying people in and out of the town, cut off by road slips.

About 70-100 people stayed at a marae overnight and Bayley said they would be removed today, weather permitting.

Bayley said it would be a couple of days work to get the inland road to Kaikoura open to one lane.

The coastal road was a more challenging prospect.

He said power and telecommunications in Kaikoura had been "intermittent".

Bayley warned people to be prepared for aftershocks.

If it was safe to stay at home, then continue to do so, but do not run outside, he said.

He repeated advice to "stop, drop and hold" to make yourself a smaller target, and not to stand in a doorway.

In Wellington, public transport is now running, including trains on the main trunk line, but services from Wairarapa are restricted.

Aftermath of the quake