Ok, so maybe it wasn't little! On 14th November at 12.02am we were rudely awaken by a massive 7.8 earthquake here in Kaikoura. Having lived through the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 we knew immediately that this was a big one, far stronger and more violent than any we had felt before. Fortunately, having recently done our civil defence training we were well prepared and quickly grabbed our emergency backpack , jumped in the car and got to high ground. The Tsunami warning wasn't officially lifted until mid morning so we spent a sleepless night up on the hill. We met a friendly group of German tourists though so we made some new friends!
When we were able to return to our property we were relieved to find that the building held up really well. Obviously there were the usual breakages to personal belongings, TV etc. and we had a lot of tidying up to do, but everything else seemed fine. Outside was a diffferent story though, the Mini Golf course had subsided towards the creek and some significant cracks have opened up in the ground. It is still playable though, we've been out and played it many times, it's just a little more challenging now! Unfortunately until we have had the ground inspected we cant start to repair the cracks so the Mini Golf is not yet open to the public, we will let you know when we are.
We had just opened our Off Licence about 2 weeks prior to the Quake and word was getting out around town that Emporium Beers were available to purchase so we were starting to get busy. About 2 days after the earthquake we actually ran out of beer (people obviously practising the "save water, drink beer" philosophy!) and with all access to Kaikoura cut off due to huge landslides on the roads there was no way we could get any more in from Christchurch. Now, 3 weeks on and with limited access via convoys of traffic being escorted into town through the inland route we finally recieved a delivery of 3 kegs today! So as of tomorrow we will have our off licence up and running again!
The biggest problem we face looking forward is the lack of tourists. Kaikoura is a seasonal town and businesses rely on the busy summer season and the huge volumes of tourists that visit in order to survive through the quiet winter. Economically this earthquake hit at the worst possible time for businesses, we were only just beginning to see the first lots of visitors arriving into town and it was forecast to be a bumper season. With the main highway south yet to open and the Highway north possibly a year or more away It's going to be more difficult for tourists to get here as it's no longer a through route. Kaikoura is still a beautiful place with so much to offer, it's still worth the journey!
So please, please come and visit, Kaikoura needs you!