Ripple effects from powerful Kaikoura earthquake still felt – Community stands strong on first anniversary

Events continue tonight in the town of Kaikoura with a big community picnic to mark the first anniversary of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that had a huge impact across the region.

The monster 7.8 magnitude jolt, centred about 60 kilometres southwest of the tourist town, struck at two minutes past midnight on November 14, 2016.

The most violent shaking ever recorded in New Zealand caused extreme changes to the landscape and two people were killed.

Two of ancient whale bones in a new sculpture represent the two victims killed in the earthquake and a the third bone represents the whole community and the resilience they've shown over the past year.

"We'd like to pay homage and to farewell Joanne Savage, nee MacKinnon, also Albert Louis Edgar and the loss that their families have suffered in their passing," said Brett Cowan, Te Runanaga O Kaikoura at a ceremony.  

The ocean floor was pushed up by two metres, making the Kaikoura marina unusable for the big tourist operators. 

But today, a dawn ceremony celebrated a new beginning after more than $6 million worth of dredging and rebuilding.

But some are still struggling there. Tu Hiku and his family are being forced to leave Kaikoura because of a housing shortage.

"This is where home is. This is where my heart it," he said.

Over 2.4 million tonnes of soil, trees and rock has been removed from slips near Kaikoura.

State Highway 1 south of the town is now open and it's hoped the northern part will also be open to the public before Christmas.

This is crucial to get the tourists back to Kaikoura. Last year, December visitor numbers plummeted by a record 80 per cent after the earthquake and half of the town's accommodation closed their doors following the quake.

Kiwirail  was back on the tracks in September and is now helping the road rebuild by delivering materials.

The monster 7.8 magnitude struck at two minutes past midnight. Source: 1 NEWS