A former Napier man has been climbing ladders and fixing chimneys near the epicentre of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake which rocked the country on Monday morning.

Mike Adams moved to Culverden 25 years ago has been busy in the quake-struck town as a member of the volunteer fire brigade.

He told Hawke's Bay Today it was "by far" the biggest quake he had experienced.

"I was in Christchurch for the quakes down there and this was a lot longer and stronger."

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Mr Adams has been working on the ground and securing the damaged chimneys around Culverden since the earthquake.

"Our unit has done four today already," he said yesterday afternoon.

"There are a lot which are now deemed unsafe."

Mr Adams woke up to the shake at 12.02am on Monday and whisked his wife and in-laws to the fire station.

"It was pitch black at home so they stayed in the station for a few hours, as it was the civil defence meeting area."

He also went to check on those living on their own.

"A lot of houses are damaged and our office and kitchen at home is a complete mess with things thrown everywhere but it is now physically safe to be in."

Despite the ongoing after-shocks the town was starting to get busier again with businesses and roads beginning to open.

"My in-laws were supposed to leave on Monday but they have not been able to get out until today, as the roads are just starting to open up north."

He believed if the earthquake had been centred in Christchurch there would have been a lot more damage than the one back in 2011.

"It was a lot bigger and longer and there have been a lot of strong aftershocks since the shake on Monday morning."

Aftershocks were continuing to rattle much of the country yesterday afternoon with a 5.9 magnitude shock hitting at about 2.30pm northeast of Kaikoura and a 5.7 just a minute later southeast of Seddon.