Life has been a little unsettled for the Dines family, but they are determined to make the best of their situation.

The former Christchurch residents packed up after the devastating February 22 earthquake and shifted to Hamilton. But the change hasn't been easy.

Six months on and almost a year since the first earthquake, truck driver Stewart Dines has been out of work, while his wife Julie had her first day off in two weeks on Friday.

The couple's rented home in New Brighton was unliveable after the earthquake.

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Sludge from liquefaction up to a metre high ruined furniture and appliances.

When Mrs Dines was offered a transfer through her job at Strandbags to a new store at The Base in Hamilton, she jumped at the chance.

"The rents skyrocketed in Christchurch and we couldn't afford it, and we didn't want to live in the country and commute so we came here."

They took 14-year-old daughter Ailsa out of her first year at secondary school and enrolled her in Hamilton's Fraser High School.

Mrs Dines said the teenager was relaxed about the move.

And while they wait for the Earthquake Commission and insurance to come through, the couple have had to sell their late model Holden SS Commodore to buy furniture.

Now they are getting around in a Mazda Neo, or what Mr Dines calls the "pregnant rollerskate".

They also had to give up a "beautiful four-bedroom home" for a "three-bedroom dump" in Hamilton, which is costing them almost the same in rent.

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"We do like Hamilton. But Christchurch will always be home."

Adrienna Ember has been in Hamilton for only two weeks, but she has rented a house and started her three children, aged 12, 9 and 5, at school. Now she is awaiting the arrival of her husband.

Stefan Doll is the Christchurch City Council's human resources manager, but he and Dr Ember, a life coach and former University of Canterbury researcher, decided a shift to Hamilton to get away from the shaky southern city was the best move for their family.

"We looked on the internet and decided on Hamilton because of its environment, size, climate and it was close to the beach and Auckland," Dr Ember said.

She and her husband plan to buy a house within the next four months and are considering setting up their own business.