Kaikoura locals are beginning to join the exodus out of their quake ravaged settlement.

With 1000 tourists successfully evacuated and the focus shifting on to disaster relief efforts local residents are now filling helicopters ferrying those too terrified to stay in the isolated seaside settlement.

Local resident Gail King today said she was taking her two great-grandchildren out of the region after her own children convinced her to get out.

"I wasn't going to leave because I've still got grandkids here as well but no, they all talked me into it.


"But the two little ones I'm taking with me. They're really scared."

KIng said she was headed to Christchurch.

She said in the aftermath of Monday's quake everything was "up and down".

"I've been down there for a year and I've just come back again so now i'm going back there for a while."

Helicopters ferrying families to Cheviot

Evacuation organiser Joseph Holland said after yesterday's mammoth operation to get more than 500 stranded tourists out of the cut-off South Island town now attention was turning to local residents.

Helicopters would ferry kaumatua and stressed families to Cheviot.

"Lines have reduced we can focus more on the people who live here that who are actually quite stressed out about not only about themselves and the earthquakes but their homes," said Holland.

He was keen to see as many flights as possible but the weather was causing problems with plans.


"The faster we can turn around the more flights we can get in and the more people we can get out. But the weather's not really playing ball at the moment so it's causing problems."

Heavy rain could cause issues with road

One of the first people into Kaikoura over the badly destroyed Inland Rd says forecast wet weather could spell disaster for the only road connecting the stricken township to the rest of the South Island.

Truck driver Gerard Daldry said hopes to reopen the slip-scarred road could suffer a setback with heavy rain expected across the region today.

It had taken four hours to come over the Inland Rd. He was ferrying drinking water to the isolated township.

"It's so weather dependent because we know what's hanging up above there and even one rock coming down and sitting in the middle of the road can stop a convoy easily."

"Heavy rain will make it Russian roulette coming through there. You never know what it's doing at any time so it could just come down at any time with no any warning - no seismic event - just a rain event will bring it down.

"There's a lot of unstable material there so it's just going to be a wait and see but rain's always the biggest enemy with that sort of stuff.

He said he had flown over the route twice before attempting to get through the blocked route. As a safeguard he had a geologist and drone with him to assess potential hazards.

The army was making a reconnaissance trip on the road this morning before leading a convoy out later today.

The Takahanga Marae opened its doors to help stranded tourists and stricken locals.

Plea for more food

Local Kaikoura Maori are pleading for more food as stocks run low at emergency welfare centres.

Kaikoura Runanga chairperson Henare Manawatu has appealed to iwi around the country to send more food as hundreds of tourists, aid workers and servicemen eat their way through the dwindling supplies.

"Just keep supporting us," said Manawatu.

"We want the water in and food.

"We've fed the tourists, got them out of here yesterday, 600 of them - 200 of them are still here we're still feeding, we're also feeding all the emergency services that are still here. We're now feeding the navy as they come in. We need food."

He said local Maori were now having the first chance to take care of their own whanau after making sure everyone else had been looked after.

Crews had been sent out to make contact for the first time since the quake and, if possible, bring them back to the Kaikoura to care for them.

The local marae is appealing for more food after days spent feeding displaced tourists and locals. Photo / Mike Scott
The local marae is appealing for more food after days spent feeding displaced tourists and locals. Photo / Mike Scott