They're relocating paua by the tonne.

About 40 tonnes were expected to have been cut free from the rocks along the Kaikoura coastline by this afternoon.

And it's all thanks to the efforts of Christchurch man Mike Vincent and his growing team of volunteers who share the same passion in trying to save the vulnerable kaimoana.

But he's still desperate for people to join him as he knows the days of the paua currently stranded on the coast are numbered after the sea bed rose about 1.8m along the Oaro coast after Monday's 7.8 magnitude quake.

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Volunteer paua rescuers have their heads down searching for stricken shellfish put in danger by the coastline rising after the quake. Photo / Mike Scott
Volunteer paua rescuers have their heads down searching for stricken shellfish put in danger by the coastline rising after the quake. Photo / Mike Scott

"The old low-tide mark, has become the new high-tide mark, that's how much it's moved, about 1.8m depending how big the tide is."

Vincent said they'd shifted 20 tonne of paua with 62 people since the quake and expected to do the same today.

They're working in a tight timeline as they can only move them during the low tide.

"We've worked our asses off."

Once cleared, the teams are resettling the paua further up the coast.

Despite their hard work, they'd only scratched the surface, he said.

"I would say we've done 10 per cent of this coast."

Ministry for Primary Industries [MPI] were also at Oaro today and put up signs warning people not to take the relocated shellfish as it would cause health issues.

He's unimpressed with their slow response.

Orao residents Sally and Vern McAllister check number plates and names of cars moving past Oaro in an effort to eliminate burglaries and paua poaching. Photo / Mike Scott
Orao residents Sally and Vern McAllister check number plates and names of cars moving past Oaro in an effort to eliminate burglaries and paua poaching. Photo / Mike Scott

"I would have hoped earlier on in the piece that they could have helped a bit more but it took me to attack social media and attack them to actually get them down here but now they've been brilliant."

He also suggested that those involved in the commercial fishing sector should also get involved as it was their livelihood that they were helping save.

"They don't get paid if there's no paua in the water."

Fellow Christchurch residents Dave Parker and Stuart Archer were on hand to help out.

They love diving and are keen to see the coastline flourish for future generations.

"We come diving up here so its a bit of a favourite spot and it's good to be able to give back," Parker said. "Its pretty sad, a lot of them are dying."

Archer said as well as the seabed rising, it had created a new surf break, too.

"There's been new surf breaks and a few reefs that well be able to surf out there. It's never been there before."

Christchurch man Mike Vincent is the power behind the paua rescue currently underway along the Kaikoura coast. Photo / Mike Scott
Christchurch man Mike Vincent is the power behind the paua rescue currently underway along the Kaikoura coast. Photo / Mike Scott

Peter Anderson, 13, is down on the rocks, busy cutting kelp to help the paua survive their short trip.

He's with dad, David, a commercial fisherman. They've come to help because they go diving in the area quite frequently. The Christchurch Boys' High School student has no qualms mucking in and staying for however long it takes.

Jenny Galbraith, also from Christchurch, left her three kids and husband, jumped on her motorbike and drove to Oaro when she saw Vincent's call for helpers.

"I'm a qualified diver but this was just something that you do, you know."

Shaun O'Neill drove up from Christchurch with a group of mates too. He agreed it was all for a good cause and said it seemed a shame for it all to go waste.

"It's all for a good cause," he says stretching out over the moss and kelp-covered rocks, cutting the paua free.

 The sign says it all. Locals of Orao and Goose Bay are keen to limit the damage to the paua fishery left high and dry from the quake from opporutnistic paua gatherers. Photo / Mike Scott
The sign says it all. Locals of Orao and Goose Bay are keen to limit the damage to the paua fishery left high and dry from the quake from opporutnistic paua gatherers. Photo / Mike Scott

The road to get Oaro, or north of Goose Bay, is nothing short of shocking.

It's closed to traffic, apart from residents and emergency vehicles. You don't have to drive too far from Cheviot to realise why. The damage hits at Parnassus; the side of the bridge has dropped about half a metre.

For the rest of the trip north, you don't have to drive more than a few hundred metres before spying a crack in the road, or it completely being ripped apart like a bag of chips. In other parts its pushed together like a bursting All Black scrum, with its props forced to stand. There's landslides, there's edges of cliffs completely disappeared, there's traffic signs in the middle of the jagged road. A lone digger is at one slip, clearing away chunks of fallen dirt and bush.

But the road is driveable, just, and it means locals like Carol and Brian Luke, who live at Omihi, about 1km north of Oaro, can head into town for supplies or to Christchurch to see family.

Sally Paul from Okains Bay is one of a large volunteer group saving paua left high and dry after the quake. Photo / Mike Scott
Sally Paul from Okains Bay is one of a large volunteer group saving paua left high and dry after the quake. Photo / Mike Scott

The paua are being released into the ocean outside their home.

When the Herald team arrives, they're standing by their gate, watching the volunteers beavering away.

Carol has her iPad, ready to take photos of the action. She says she's heartened by the work the volunteers are doing.

Meanwhile, Bryan is still shocked at the change in landscape.

"We can see rocks that we've never seen before."

The couple are keeping in reasonable spirits despite their situation.

A massive hill sits just metres from their back door, along with a monster boulder which fell during the quake, along with branches from trees and other debris.

Like others in the area though, they don't plan to go anywhere in a hurry.

"We can't just leave everything that we have behind," Carol says.

As for Vincent, he just hopes that the paua will make it.

"I'm not a scientist, I don't know how paua think, but I'm just here to make sure they survive."