Air Force flies tourists out of Christchurch

5:44 am on 24 February 2011

About 300 tourists have been evacuated from Christchurch to Wellington, having been forced to leave their passports and clothing in their hotels in the wake of Tuesday's earthquake.

The tourists, from a range of countries, were flown from the earthquake-devastated city by the Air Force on Wednesday night.

Toi Poneke Arts Centre in central Wellington was transformed into a welfare centre where the travellers were given food, toiletry kits and donated clothing and were assisted by their respective embassies.

The Wellington Emergency Management Office says the generosity of local people has been incredible.

It says most of the tourists are in good spirits considering what they have been through.

Many of them stayed in temporary marae accommodation on Wednesday night at Te Papa's Te Marae and Pipitea in Thorndon Quay, as well as the new Wharewaka on the waterfront.