The latest local doing his bit to help has spent hundreds delivering food to cut-off families in a remote part of Kaikoura.

Helicopter pilot Joe Tripp, 67, discovered nine people had been stranded in Nins Bin since the earthquake without any supplies. The locals had asked for help repeatedly but never heard anything back.

"The road was blocked off, the railway's gone. They're locked in there.

"I thought 'right, I'll help them myself'. So I loaded up the helicopter with rations from the marae and flew two loads of rations up to these people at my own expense," Tripp said.


"They're not city people, they can survive, but everybody needs help in situations like this."

Tripp, who's been a helicopter pilot for 35 years, delivered boxes of food, water and fruit to the settlement 40km north of Kaikoura. Today he is picking up a man from Nins Bin to take him and his two dogs to work.

He estimates the whole exercise will cost him about $1500 in gas.

"They needed help and they hadn't received any. They had asked for it several times."

Ngaio Te Ua called Tripp an "unsung hero" after he descended from the sky with essentials.

"We had 12 bottles of water for a week, then 'nek minute' we got trailer loads. It was amazing.

"I love Joe. He's just beautiful he did it all on his own back. He's just an unsung hero."

Te Ua said Tripp had picked up a neighbour of hers yesterday and took her details when he realised they were getting desperate for supplies. Te Ua had asked numerous services for aid but hadn't heard back from them.

"There have been a gazillion choppers flying overhead and he is the only one who has finally helped us."

Despite his warm heart Tripp is disappointed he's been left in the cold by Civil Defence and emergency services. He said the three local helicopter companies haven't had any work from them, instead they've been using outside operators.

"Everyone should be getting some of the work. Especially the local operators. They should be up on the top of the list for work because we live here. It's our livelihood."

Te Ua urged emergency services to make use of Tripp's local knowledge and excellent flying ability.

"He is a hunter, knows the terrain well and all the flash-harry choppers came in, getting paid and they haven't used him."

Emergency Operations Centre response manager Steve May said they use "the right aircraft and personnel for the job, which includes a local pilot".

The help continues in other parts of the region too.

The Recovery Assistance Centre set up at Kaikoura Primary School provided food packs and meals.

Yesterday 11 New Zealand Defence Force vehicles brought in critical supplies and work is continuing to restore electricity, water and sewage services in affected areas.

Paua-saving volunteers continue to defy the Ministry of Primary Industry's ban after permission was granted to them from the iwi.

The Defence Force has announced it will send more aid convoys to deliver vital supplies to Kaikoura.

"Now that there is controlled access by road between Culverden and Kaikoura, we will continue to transport the majority of aid supplies using NZDF vehicles until commercial vehicles are allowed access," said Major General Tim Gall, the Commander of New Zealand's joint forces.

"We are still using helicopters to reach those remote communities, helping to ensure that they are being provided with the assistance that they need."

Gall said the focus on vehicle-delivered aid would give a much-needed respite to the NH90 medium-utility helicopters and amphibious sealift vessel Canterbury, which have been deeply involved in the Government's emergency response from the start.

"We need to utilise the various assets we have deployed to best effect so that if a new emergency arises, we are ready to respond," Gall said.

HMNZS Canterbury returned to Lyttelton on Sunday with 192 evacuees and will remain there until it receives new tasks. A P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft from the Air Force conducted another survey of quake-damaged areas yesterday. The survey, requested by KiwiRail, focused on the state of the rail network in North Canterbury.

Two RNZAF A109 helicopters are being used to transport police to conduct checks in remote areas of North Canterbury.

The NZDF has mobilised up to 615 people, 11 aircraft and four vessels to support the Government's earthquake response. It has delivered about 250 tonnes of vital supplies to Kaikoura by land, sea and air, and rescued nearly 1000 people from the quake-damaged seaside community.