Kaikōura reopens harbour a year after deadly earthquake

Kaikoura Harbour reopened today after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island coastal town a year ago.

The deadly quake hit just after midnight on November 14 last year, claiming two lives and causing billions of dollars of damage.

Lisa Bond from Whale Watch Kaikoura spoke to Kawekōrero Reporters about reopening the harbour and how the town has coped since the earthquake.

“It’s a day to stop and reflect on how far we’ve come in the last 12 months,” said Bond.

“Yeah it’s been tough but we’ve come a long way. And we’ve got a good future ahead of us.”

But today’s milestone hasn’t been without personal sacrifices.

“I lost my home in the earthquake,” said Bond.

But although she is now living in a caravan at a holiday park, Bond remains positive.

“It’s meant that I’ve been able to meet some great Kaikoura locals who are likewise. And we’re forming quite a cool community.”

State Highway 1 on the South Island’s east coast from Picton to Christchurch is the main route to Kaikoura. It’s been closed since last year’s November earthquake.

“To have the northern access cut off for the last 12 months has meant that there’s been a decrease in the amount of people that have been able to visit,” said Bond.

“So it’s been tough in that sense for us as a business.”

After a year of operating with only one of their four boats, Whale Watch Kaikoura is finally able to run at full capacity now the harbour is open.

And Kaikoura locals look forward to when State Highway 1 reopens in time for Christmas.