There are new concerns for the quake-hit Kaikoura community as heavy rain raises the prospect of flooding in the region.

"Due to deteriorating weather, there is now some flooding risk in Kaikoura," Civil Defence and Emergency Management director Sarah Stuart-Black said at a press conference this afternoon.

She was "really worried" about the potential effect of the weather on the region, she said.

Residents downstream of the Waiau River were evacuated this morning as a precaution.

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Transport officials who are working to open the crucial inland road have been pulled out "due to unsafe conditions", Stuart-Black said.