A man whose house was moderately damaged during Tuesday night's earthquake has been told his property may not be assessed until early 2013.

Ray Strawbridge was one of around 200 people in the Wanganui and Taranaki region who made a claim with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake off the Wanganui coast.

The earthquake was 230km deep and most of the damage sustained was minor.

However, Mr Strawbridge, who moved into his 1880s villa at Waitotara just two weeks ago, said his house had some noticeable damage after the earthquake, including movement of the walls, cracking of interior walls, and cracked leadlight windows.


Mr Strawbridge said he was soon to take delivery of a new kitchen and bathroom for the house to assist his wife, who has medical issues, and his elderly mother, who has mobility issues.

"I rang my insurance company, who told me to ring EQC because it related to an earthquake matter.

"EQC told me to put my renovations on hold since they couldn't give me any idea of when they could get an assessor to me - they said it could be next week or it could be next year," Mr Strawbridge said.

It was frustrating not knowing when the house would be assessed, he said.

"How am I supposed to put my renovations on hold indefinitely when EQC can't tell me when they'll send an assessor? We really need those renovations because at the moment my elderly mum can't get in or out of the shower."

Mr Strawbridge said it was the "last thing" he wanted in a new house and in the middle of winter.

"The house is old but it was in good condition; it was structurally sound and so on."

He said he would most likely go ahead with his renovations despite the earthquake damage.

EQC chief executive Iain Simpson said while he would not comment on individual cases, Mr Strawbridge would receive information about his house in due course.

"It's only been a couple of days since the earthquake, and we really need to see how many claims come in before we can send out assessors."

Mr Simpson said he did not expect a large volume of claims from the quake.

"Despite it being felt widely across New Zealand, information indicates the quake is unlikely to have caused anything more than minor damage to homes even very close to the epicentre.

"This means that damage is likely to very limited, and few claims are anticipated."

Mr Simpson said fewer than 200 claims had been received by EQC so far.

"By contrast, the last [large Christchurch] earthquake on December 23 last year, generated over 2000 claims on the second day, and over 50,000 in the 90-day claim window," Mr Simpson said.