Several cars drove past an unwell and elderly quake victim, dressed in her pyjamas as she struggled to higher ground with her walking stick in the dark.

When no one came to her aid after the quake, Kaikoura resident Pat Vincent, 79, had to head up hill on foot at about 5am on Sunday.

Vincent climbed over a wire fence and continuously crossed the road to avoid cracked footpaths, as several cars drove past on South Bay Parade.

"Once I realised there might be a tsunami I thought I've got to walk," said Vincent.


Vincent who was recently in hospital for three weeks said the walk took her about an hour.

"I just had to walk. I thought I'm going to get up there and find help."

Vincent was relieved to see a friend and his wife at the top of the hill, who took her to where they were staying on Churchill St in South Bay.

The 79 year old was in bed at her home on Moa Rd, South Bay when the 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck sending everything crashing around her.

"I felt for my torch by the bed but the bedside cabinet had fallen," said Vincent.

Vincent slowly made her way from her bedroom to the lounge in the dark, where she found a small torch on the floor.

Today, Vincent was safe with her family in Christchurch.

"I am very relieved...and very tired," said Vincent.

Daughter Robin Phillips told the Herald she tried contacting her mother after the earthquake, however did not hear she was safe until 6am from the couple who had taken her in.

"It's horrible to think of her out there by herself."

Phillips said her mother arrived in Christchurch in her pyjamas, with a coat someone had given her and a small bag of belongings she packed in the dark.

They were out buying Vincent some necessities today.