Wellington evacuees return for belongings

11:28 am on 21 December 2016

Dozens more Wellington residents evacuated from their apartments and offices after the Kaikōura quake have retrieved their belongings this morning.

Tory Street, Wellington

Tory Street has been cordoned off after the earthquakes. Photo: RNZ/Caitlin Cherry

People with vehicles in the condemned Wilson's car park on Courtenay Place were also given two hours this morning to recover their cars.

About 20 people were waiting outside the carpark when the first vehicles came rolling out of the building.

One of them, Brandon, said he had been without a car for nearly a month and he was thrilled to have it back just before Christmas.

"It's been a long time coming... I've got family visiting over the holidays so it's nice to have vehicles around."

The council had been good to deal with it got involved, he said.

Residents and workers in the Registered Master Builders Association building on Wakefield Street, and those living in apartments on Tory Street, were also given 20 minutes to retrieve belongings.

The buildings have been behind a cordon since the carkpark building of the Reading Cinemas complex was found to have structural damage following the magnitude 7.8 quake on 14 November.

It's now set to be demolished.

Last week, residents of the Maison Cabriole apartments, near Courtenay Place's Reading Cinema carpark, were given a similar opportunity to access their homes.

Wellington City Council site manager Phil Becker said Urban Search And Rescue staff escorted people back into their apartments, one or two at a time, and those getting their cars were also briefed by staff.

"There are range of things that people [would] bring out, from passports to medication to clothing and other things they've remembered.

"I had a call from a chap who dearly wants to get in to get some Christmas presents in his apartment that he wasn't able to get out previously, so it will be awesome to get him in there and get those out."

Public meetings in Tasman district

Meanwhile, Nelson Tasman Civil Defence Emergency Management said more than 100 people in Nelson and Tasman turned out to a series of public meetings on how to prepare for a natural disaster.

Group controller Roger Ball said the number of queries after the Kaikōura quake showed there was not a common understanding of what people should do and where they could get information in a disaster.

The meetings had helped create a greater understanding of the risks and how to prepare, he said.

A geologist's report has shown that Nelson City and Richmond were particularly vulnerable to seismic hazard, as an active fault capable of generating a large earthquake passed through those areas.

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