STAYING - The Butchers
Norm and Maree Butcher have had their "dark moments" since the February 22 earthquake reduced their Wainoni house to ruins.
It would be hard not to after losing the place you called home for 16 years, along with many of your belongings.
But the couple and daughter Jasmine, with their St Bernard Dramby, are also having to live at the back of the Woodham Rd property where their house used to be - in a caravan.
The family watched as the remains of their house were taken away six days before the latest big tremors struck.
Their property is affected by liquefaction but they don't believe it will prevent them rebuilding on the same site, which they remain committed to.
"We've got too much to lose. We've worked hard to own what we own ... We've got this land and I don't think anyone is going to want to buy here anytime soon," Mrs Butcher said.
The caravan wasn't as bad as they thought it would be, "but it would have been better to get used to in summer".
They've had tears and times it got too much, but knew it wouldn't last forever. Mr Butcher was in the caravan when the 6.3 quake hit.
"It just went from side to side. I knew we had to ride it out."
It was that sort of attitude the family were using to cope with their new "cosy" living arrangements.
"It's sort of like a rollercoaster. We've definitely had our darker moments," Mrs Butcher said.
Her husband said: "We've had people say 'come stay with us' but I've said before you have to come back to the same problem.
"This will sort itself out and will die down."
They've battled insurance companies and are increasingly upset about the lack of action on that front which has complicated their plans for the future.
Mr Butcher said shortly before the house was taken away, their insurance company asked them to take pictures of some of the items they were claiming for - despite not being allowed back into the house.
"It's not our insurance guy I have the problem with, it's the nameless, faceless ones that are making the decisions that no one knows."
But the Butchers yesterday said they would stay focused on the positives, pointing out one of their new life's "luxuries" - a flushing toilet.
IN LIMBO - Helen Powell
Helen Powell says you don't need to be a rocket scientist to see her Wainoni street had been badly affected - yet still people are being told to wait, causing even more anxiety.
Liquefaction has again caused flooding there and the ground has cracked open in several places that it hadn't in the earlier earthquakes.
Outside Ms Powell's home a power pole is threatening to slip into a big hole that has caused part of the road to sink away from the driveway.
"I think they really have to make some decisions ... this can't go on year after year."
Ms Powell, 57, hoped she wouldn't have to move but is at the point she would like more certainty. "You just have to keep your fingers crossed. You just don't know minute to minute. It's frustrating but it's uncontrollable."
Like tens of thousands of Cantabrians her life hasn't been the same since September 4's highly damaging - but non-fatal - magnitude 7.1 quake. It left her so scared of being upstairs she has slept downstairs in a fold-out camp stretcher.
"You learn to sleep with one eye open. You don't really sleep."
For the second time she has been forced to get her little bucket and spade to start moving the sludge that has piled up on her driveway and front yard.
But she has had plenty of help from neighbours and two police officers, Constables Jos Sturkenboom from Greymouth and Brad Hall from Pahiatua. "Men just came out of thin air to help. I was very fortunate," she said,
GOING - Alan Downward
Shovelling sludge from outside his parents' home is not how Alan Downward thought he would spend his last days in New Zealand.
The 27-year-old leaves on his OE to Britain next week but has put packing his bags on the backburner as he clears away silt piled outside the Avonside home.
"With this and the [volcanic] ash cloud I was wondering if I'll ever get away."
This is the second time he has been forced to clean up sludge from liquefaction but he is not complaining.
"There's nothing that can be done about it. It has to be done, you can't just leave it here."
He had hoped Monday's earthquakes wouldn't be strong enough to cause liquefaction but knew from experience they would be.
It took three hours to clear away the sludge after the February 22 earthquake but Mr Downward expected this week's mess would take longer because it had crept up further towards the house than last time.
STAYING - The Butchers