Last communal meal at Takahanga Marae in Kaikoura tomorrow as some earthquake relief efforts wind up

An officer from the Royal Australian Navy exchanges a hongi with a Kaikoura man during today's powhiri. Photo/Supplied.
An officer from the Royal Australian Navy exchanges a hongi with a Kaikoura man during today's powhiri. Photo/Supplied.

Takahanga Marae will serve its last communal meal tomorrow night, almost exactly a week after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that sparked the Kaikoura marae's massive relief effort.

Hundreds of people, including stranded tourists and quake relief workers, have been fed by the Kaikoura-based marae since Monday's deadly quake.

Civil Defence Controller John Mackie thanked the marae on behalf of those who had responded to the quake.

"I would like to acknowledge and thank Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura, the hapū of Ngāti o Kuri and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for their enormous effort and support."

From tomorrow night, food packs would no longer be distributed from the marae. Those
with ongoing needs for assistance will be able to visit the Recovery Assistance Centre that has been set up at Kaikoura Primary School, Mackie said.

Information on civil defence emergency payments, EQC claims, mental health support and extra support for the vulnerable will be available.

Anyone who can't get to the centre should call the government helpline on 0800 779 997, he said.

Multi-national military crews thanked

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Defence Force thanked a multi-national crew of Australian, Canadian and United States' military personnel for supporting its disaster relief operation during a powhiri today.

Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, praised the support.

"It is a fantastic feeling to know that our closest partners offered support without question and quickly mobilised to stand with our sailors, soldiers and airmen to provide support to the people of Kaikoura."

He also acknowledged offers of assistance from other navies visiting New Zealand as part of the New Zealand Navy's 75th anniversary.

Warships and maritime surveillance aircraft from Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States were diverted earlier this week to support the force's disaster relief operation.

The ships, which have about 660 sailors and four helicopters between them, will sail for Wellington tonight, en route to Auckland.

Four maritime helicopters from the foreign warships helped offload about 216 tonnes of aid supplies from the amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury.

Surveillance aircraft from Japan and the US conducted surveys of quake-damaged areas.

About 120 sailors from Australia, Canada and the US joined colleagues from the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha to form a multinational team that went ashore in Kaikoura to support relief efforts.

Another 174 Kaikoura residents, a cat and 13 dogs were evacuated today by the Canterbury, bringing to about 900 the total number of people rescued.

- NZ Herald

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