Four property owners in the upmarket Christchurch suburb of Fendalton received close to $600,000 each for earthquake damage to their land.
Documents released to RNZ showed the payments were made after the September 2010 earthquake but before the February 2011 quake.
At the time, the government was considering spending about $150 million fixing quake-damaged land and preventing damage from liquefaction in future quakes.
In October 2010 the Earthquake Commission decided it would not be possible to protect the four Fendalton homeowners from future damage and they should instead be paid for the insurable value of their land.
Following the later February quake, payments for land damage fell well short of the insurable value of peoples' land.
Five years on, thousands have yet to receive any money for land damage.