The truck driver who narrowly escaped being buried in a landslide on the Kaikoura coast won't be in the dog box for calling his boss before his partner.

Denis Dunn caused alarm among colleagues, friends and family, who feared he might have been buried in a huge slip during yesterday's deadly magnitude 7.5 quake.

The 47-year-old was last spotted 30km south of Kaikoura, shortly before the quake struck.

Read more: Truck driver feared buried under Kaikoura landslide found

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His partner, Christchurch woman Catherine Johnson, faced an agonising wait for news until she finally heard he was safe about 3pm yesterday.

The news came second-hand because Dunn had called his boss, Shane Pearson, first.

"He's going to get told off, because he rung me instead of her first," Pearson said yesterday.

But Dunn won't be in trouble when he finally gets home, Johnson said this morning.

"Apparently he had tried to ring me but I was actually on the phone to someone at the office - so he did actually try to ring me first."

Laughing, she added: "No, he's not in trouble. Anything but!"

Johnson said Dunn was now with another truck driver who had cell phone reception.

She'd now had the opportunity to talk to him twice, albeit briefly.

"I've talked to him this morning and last night," she told the Herald.

Johnson said it was "great" when she first heard his voice.

"It was wonderful - it was such a relief just to hear him."

Slips have blocked the coastal road south out of Kaikoura. Photo / Mike Scott
Slips have blocked the coastal road south out of Kaikoura. Photo / Mike Scott

But Johnson was yet to talk to Dunn - her partner of 18 years and father of her children Fleur, 13, and Chloe, 11 - about exactly what had happened.

"It might be a bit emotional for him."

She said he was doing well.

"He's had a good sleep overnight, so he's feeling a lot better today. Obviously he's still stuck until he can get out of there, but he's sounding good."

Johnson said she was still uncertain exactly where Dunn was.

"We've just had brief conversations because obviously it's someone else's phone and they've got people trying to get through to them.

"All I know is that he's parked up at a farmer's house near to where he was.

"I'm not exactly 100 per cent sure where on the coast he is, but they're nice and safe and warm and dry. "

Dunn told her this morning that the aftershocks weren't too bad last night.

"Whether he was just so tired that he slept through it - he said he had a really good sleep last night, so he actually said it wasn't too bad."

Johnson also slept well after yesterday's news.

She was still waiting to hear when he might be home - Johnson said it could be today or tomorrow.