The only road into Kaikoura has been reopened to military vehicles after last night's strong aftershock unexpectedly closed it.

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carrying supplies and essential services to the quake-ravaged community is finally heading over the Inland Kaikoura Rd.

The convoy was delayed after a strong 5.7 aftershock threatened further landslides and the risk of the Towy River dam spilling over.

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A warning remained in place to stay out of the Conway River after a landslide caused a dam. There were serious concerns for human life with fears the dam was in imminent danger of breaking and flooding downstream.

Civil Defence also asked people to register if leaving Kaikoura by road.

Although the road remained closed to regular traffic, Civil Defence wanted to hear from people with rugged 4WD vehicles and Class 1 rigid trucks who wish to leave Kaikoura on a one-way convoy and not return before the road was fully reopened.

There was no date yet when convoys might begin.

A free bus service had started in the township using a hail styem for passengers.

A 23-seater bus was circulating between the New World bus interchange and the central business district. A van would be used on other urban and rural routes.

Kaikoura residents have been reminded not to use or flush toilets and boil all drinking water from taps.

A further update on the Kaikoura quake recovery would be given to the community at a public meeting today in Churchill Park at 1pm.