Dutch tourist waiting to be evacuated from Kaikoura says the people of the earthquake-damaged-town are her heroes.

Dutch woman Anita Seruaas stopped off in Kaikoura for the whale-watching and was supposed to be there for just two days. She says it's a town that's on everybody's schedule when they're touring the South Island.

She's now one of hundreds of tourists trapped by the tonnes of rock and dirt that tumbled on to all roads leading to the town after being shaken from cliffs by Monday earthquake.

Ms Seruaas says she always travels prepared for any eventuality- and when the quake struck and they saw the sea going out they knew they were in danger - and were dressed and packed within five minutes.


She says she went up the hill behind the town and spent the night with everyone else in the same boat.

Last night she slept at the local marae with more than a hundred other people.

Ms Seruaas laughs as she says she still feels like she's been hit by an earthquake.

She's grateful for the way local people have rallied to help.

"They are my heroes, all of them. Especially the guy from the local supermarket who supplied goods, all his goods to the people who needed it. This town is in my heart forever.