Kaikōura family facing Christmas without a home

7:17 pm on 21 December 2016

A heart-warming tale of love is emerging from quake-hit Kaikōura.

When the shaking started last month, Karana Barker and her young family made for the hills with their beloved pet goat, Billy, in tow.

They slept together in their truck and Billy began following them everywhere.

He became well-known among tourists, going on walks with his family to the shops and the park.

With their house destroyed, Ms Barker and her four children have been staying with friends since 14 November, and have had to move Billy to a friend's paddock.

Billy, who was rescued and adopted after his mother was shot, has now found a partner who has been equally fortunate.

The other goat, named Lucky, fell down a cliff during the quake and had to be rescued by her owner a few days later. Billy and Lucky are now "dating".

"He's doing fine," Ms Barker said. "He's still very attached to us, especially my daughter Annalise - the night of the quake he would only stop making noise when she got back in the car."

She was trying to find a new home in the town, where she has lived her whole life, but was struggling.

"There's very little accommodation around at the moment and what there is is quite expensive," she said. "But hopefully it will come in time."

Karana Barker's home was destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, her family pet goat Billy was by their side in the days following.

Billy surveys the damage in the quake-hit home Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

She and her children returned to their old home every now and again and were always a little taken aback by the damage.

On one trip, she noticed a big hole in the wall that was not there before.

"I think there has been some people in here... the guy next door has had a whole lot of wood stolen," she said.

Ms Barker works with children at a daycare centre, and planned to remain there next year.

As for their Christmas this year, "it will certainly be different", she said.

"I think the whole town is different at the moment, it's a lot quieter and pretty ghostly. It's like 30 years ago when there was no Whale Watch or Dolphin Encounter."

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