Civil Defence says getting people back into their homes after last week's storms in Nelson, would have taken a week longer without the lessons learned from the Canterbury earthquakes earlier.
Almost half the households evacuated from the Tahunanui slopes above Rocks Road in Nelson last weekend were allowed to return on Friday.
However, 38 houses are still regarded as unsafe.
Civil Defence controller Jim Frater says the operational lessons from the quakes have been invaluable.
He closed the emergency response centre on Friday afternoon.