Orange-zoned residents can still expect a decision next month on whether they can remain in their properties, despite a continuing surge of aftershocks causing further damage, says a spokesman.

Christchurch has been rocked by earthquakes over the past few days, with 41 in the Canterbury region recorded in one 24-hour period.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton said although the latest series of quakes have caused damage, engineers were working around the clock and he didn't see any significant delays.

He told Radio New Zealand the team was still working towards a decision in February to say whether the 900 residents in the orange zone could stay in their properties.


"We've got this balance between getting them a decision which we can get reasonably quickly but also making a decsion which we know is right for the longer term, because if people do move out of these areas it's going to be very traumatic and difficult for them as well.

"At the same time if we let them rebuild, and there are further earthquakes, and there probably are the way we're going at the moment, and there is further property damage they're going to be pretty grumpy with us as are their insurers.

He acknowledged the wait must be "very, very frustrating" for the hundreds of residents still unsure about their homes.

The surge of earthquakes were taking more of a psychological toll this time around, he said.

"It's been a horrible, horrible period for these latest shocks, but the infrastructure has held up much, much better than it has previously ... so while a lot of people have suffered damage in their houses and land damage again, psychologically is where the real impact is. People are just saying they hate the fact they're waiting another one.

"I think it is important that people take this seriously and do look after themselves and their neighbours.''

He said he had been speaking with Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and GNS scientists to organise an urgent briefing over why the earthquakes were continuing.

"I think people also just want to hear from a number of key leaders around town, giving the same messages as well.''


Anyone feeling distressed or overwhelmed by the aftershocks can call the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846, from 8am to 11pm daily.