Residents of a small community near Kaikoura have been told 17 homes are still unsafe to move back into due to the risk posed by a dam caused by a landslip after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
A dozen homeowners at Goose Bay, about 7km south of Kaikoura, can now return, however.
Civil Defence controller Murray Sinclair has just returned from telling residents.
He says those on higher ground cheered but others remain very disappointed.
The decision has been made after a week-long wait on geotechnical data on the safety of returning.
The dam was 200m to 300m in length and 10m wide.