Kaikoura locals are worried they're being neglected as hundreds of tourists are evacuated.

Civil Defence controller John Mackey spoke at a town meeting this afternoon, saying they aimed to have 700 tourists evacuated by the end of day, Newshub reported.

Local residents voiced their concerns that they were being forgotten about. Not being able to drive to the shops to buy food because there is no petrol for non-emergency services frustrated them.

The Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury has started evacuating people out of Kaikoura.


So far about 100 people have boarded the ship, with more continuing to evacuate over the next few hours, Newshub reported.

A Navy spokesperson said "we'll only be limited by the number of lifejackets we have - we'll take anyone who wants to go".

The crew were taking 10 to 11 people at a time to the ship via their inflatable landing craft.

The Navy said evacuations could take several hours, depending on how many people wish to get on board.