Kaikōura Cheese keeps going after quake

10:43 am on 22 December 2016

Immediately after the Canterbury earthquakes, Daniel and Sarah Jenkins decided to pack up everything they own and move from Christchurch to Kaikōura.

A year later they fulfilled their dream and were cheese making, and eventually opened a shop, Kaikōura Cheese, on the main street.

Last month, when the shaking started again, they were hit with a severe case of deja vu and are only now starting to get their business rolling again.

Every morning since the 7.8 quake on 14 November they have been milking the 50 or so goats in their paddocks, a few kilometres out of town.

"We are set up with generators, so luckily we weren't too disrupted in that sense. Farmers don't have any option, they have to keep milking," said Sarah.

They have 80 goats in all, including the ones too young to be milked, and every one has a name, from Popeye and Sapphire, to Ollie and Suzanne.

Sarah said the goats did not fare too well during the quake.

"Mainly the first day and a little bit the next, any aftershock they would band together in a herd and hoon around the paddock," she said.

"We tend to run to our kids or find each other in our home and run to higher ground - it's the same for people in that sense."

Goats from the farm of Kaikoura Cheese.

During the earthquake and its aftershocks, the 80-goat herd would run around the paddock in a pack. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The shop itself, on The Esplanade, sells not only goats cheese but Gouda, Edam and the more obscure Duntroon and Red Leicester.

"Before the earthquake, we had this dream of doing cheese in Kaikōura and the Christchurch earthquake sped that up dramatically," said Daniel.

"We were living close to the Arts Centre in town so put everything we owned in our truck and left."

They reopened their Kaikōura Cheese shop a couple of weeks ago, and while things are moving at a snail's pace in town, they have been able to keep up with orders.

"It's been good that interest has remained - people are just waiting for the security of knowing we can get our cheese out using our courier service," he said,

"We are starting to have confidence that we won't need to fly it out or boat it out again."

Owner of Kaikoura Cheese, Daniel Jenkins

Daniel Jenkins, co-owner of the Kaikōura Cheese shop, says his business has been able to keep up with orders, despite the earthquake. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

He, like everyone in Kaikōura, believes the reopening of State Highway 1 south of the town will massively help.

"It will make it much easier for us to get to Christchurch and do our business down there," he said.

"We can do some farmer's markets down there - we've been offered that opportunity."

Businesses on the main street have banded together since the quake.

Many agreed to open only once everyone else was ready, or only at certain times.

But Daniel said while his business could survive sending away its product, others, like his next-door neighbour, relied solely on tourism.

Owner of Kaikoura Cheese, Sarah Jenkins.

Sarah Jenkins, co-owner of Kaikōura Cheese, says business is slowly returning to normal, five weeks on from the quake. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

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