A Marlborough vicar says people still struggling since the Seddon earthquakes four years ago are sceptical about promises to resolve insurance claims for residents' quake-damaged homes by December.
About 100 people met representatives of the Earthquake Commission, private insurers, the Transport Agency and the Marlborough District Council at community meetings this week.
Officials assured them that State Highway 1, north of Kaikōura, would be open by December, and that insurance assessments would also be sorted by then.
Rail and road links from Picton to Christchurch were severed by the 7.8 magnitude Kaikōura earthquake in November last year.
Dawn Daunauda said people were reassured by the comments but many remained cynical because of past experience.
"I noticed that they kept on saying before Christmas, or towards the end of the year, but I'm hopeful. They're aiming high," she said.
She said the community was still dealing with the aftermath of the severe 2013 Seddon quakes.
The Earthquake Commission said the agreement with private insurers, who were now handling claims on its behalf, had been set up to avoid delays in settlement.