Police a constant presence after the Kaikoura earthquake

Police arrived in Kaikoura by helicopter with the Air Force and have remained to help out. Photo / NZDF
Police arrived in Kaikoura by helicopter with the Air Force and have remained to help out. Photo / NZDF

More than 25 police staff remain in Kaikoura and the surrounding area following last week's earthquake.

Teams are focusing on spending time with people in the community, making sure their needs are being met and checking they're okay, said Kaikoura police operations manager Inspector Jimi McGrogan.

Police currently have a 24-hour presence in the wider Kaikoura region.

"Our staff are not only working on reassurance patrols following the quake, but also focusing on business as usual policing and crime prevention," McGrogan said.

"We'd like to reassure people in the wider Kaikoura community that they should contact us immediately if they have any concerns or want to report a crime.

"Police are here to help and we can respond any time of the day or night.

"Please let us know if you witness any incidents which police may be able to help with and as usual, if you are concerned about a crime, please call 111."

On Tuesday, with the help of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, some police staff were flown by helicopter into Rakautara, a community approximately 20km north of Kaikoura, where six people remain in their homes cut off by slips on the roads either side of them.

"Our staff spent time with the locals helping them through their options and also delivered supplies and reassurance to the hard-hit community," McGrogan said.

Police help unload supplies to Kaikoura with the Air Force. Photo / NZDF
Police help unload supplies to Kaikoura with the Air Force. Photo / NZDF

"Over the last couple of days staff have also been doing patrols in the rural areas surrounding Kaikoura township, to ensure people based there are looked after.

"On top of that, two of our staff were involved in the successful evacuation of people from Goose Bay yesterday evening."

Roading in the area continues to be a priority issue.

The Inland Road is an option only for emergency services and Mt Lyford residents who have been granted controlled access, due to the unsafe nature of the journey.

Police have received reports of people using the road without permission.

"This places individuals at extreme risk, so we ask that people please take this seriously and stay off it," he said.

"Teams are working hard to get it open to the public as soon as possible to create a route in and out of the area but this can't happen until it can be assured the road is 100 per cent safe.

"We understand it's frustrating for many, however we ask that people please be patient.

"The precautions being taken are in place for a reason, keeping people safe is paramount."

State Highway 1 is likely to remain closed for months due to the road damage.

Driving the quake-damaged 100km route from Culverden to Kaikoura is testing the mettle of the New Zealand Defence Force truck drivers ferrying vital supplies. Photo / NZDF
Driving the quake-damaged 100km route from Culverden to Kaikoura is testing the mettle of the New Zealand Defence Force truck drivers ferrying vital supplies. Photo / NZDF

Police are working with communities that are stranded due to the road closure, such as the Rakautara people, and helping to evacuate them or get them the supplies they need.

"We want to reinforce this road should not be being used by anyone while it remains closed by Civil Defence. There is a possibility that controlled convoys of civilian 4WDs will be able to use the road to drive out of Kaikoura in the near future, but that will be a decision of Civil Defence, and only when the road is in a safe state."

Police are concerned rations for fuel are being used too freely.

"The source of fuel and diesel in Kaikoura is extremely limited so we ask that people please take only what you need and use it sparingly," McGrogan said.

"Over the coming days police will continue to maintain a strong presence in Kaikoura and surrounding areas with new staff swapping in and out from different policing districts.

"Currently the 24-hour policing roster here is maintained by staff from Kaikoura, Canterbury, Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Palmerston North.

"Thank you to the locals for allowing NZ Police to do our job and supporting our role in the wider Kaikoura area."

- NZ Herald

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