A Wellington animal welfare advocate who dropped everything to help during the Tasman blaze is bunking in a caravan with a fireman's dog while she watches over hundreds of evacuated pets.

HUHA founder Carolyn Press-McKenzie has kept the Doberman, named Keira, close by since she arrived at the Richmond Showgrounds.

"Her dad is a firefighter, so he is out there doing his thing, and we are looking after her.

"You think about what he is doing, this is just about support."


Press-McKenzie said she felt proud to be where they were needed, alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries and the SPCA at the makeshift animal nursery.

READ MORE: Nelson fire: SPCA and MPI brave evacuated zone for animal welfare checks

"This is what we do. We have got this," she said.

"It's our lifework too, to care for animals in any situation.

"I think we are the right people on the job."

Press-McKenzie said she just knew she had to come down to help on Wednesday.

"I just heard the fire was starting to rev up," she said.

"We run three animal shelters and a vet clinic in Wellington. We have helped in crisis before."


She and husband, Jim McKenzie, own a 5.2ha property in Kaitoke.

About 460 animals were living at the Richmond Showgrounds this morning - among them quail, chickens, dogs, cats, pigs, and dogs.

Roughly 270 young chickens joined the flock about midday.

Wai-iti Free Range Eggs' owners Diana and Peter Martin carefully moved their young chickens by hand with the help of good friends.

The hens had been in a raising shed which made them easier to grab, Diana Martin said.

The couple had to leave another 1000 fully-grown chickens on their free-range property.


"The logistics of bringing 1000 laying-hens here, that was too much," she said.

However, they had a three-day supply of food and water, she said.

"I felt quite sick this morning," she said, of the worry there would be a forced evacuation and of the feeling of resignation that they would have to leave all their animals behind.

Friends had told them of the option to take the chickens to the showgrounds and then insisted on helping them move the hens.

"It made such a difference," she said.

Some people were so amazing, she said.