Scars remain in upper South Island farmland two years on from Kaikōura quake

Today marks the second anniversary of the Kaikōura earthquake, the massive magnitude 7.8 quake which caused widespread destruction when it struck at two minutes past midnight.

While the disaster left large chasms across farmland from the Hurunui up to Marlborough, a group of farmers are looking for ways to make the land productive again.

Marty Satterthwaite, a Waiau farmer and the third generation of his family to farm the land, said, "For me, land's always been kind of a stable and to see it move as dramatically as it has has been pretty gut-wrenching".

Over 60 new lakes appeared across the Hurunui District following the quake – six of which formed on Waiau farmer David Bowler's property.

"I think a fissure must have opened up the valley and set it going," Mr Bowler said.

The land changes forced the Waiau farmer to cut stock numbers by one quarter.

"It all compounds on the bottom line," he said.

However, a community-led group is looking for ways to make the broken land productive again.

Hurunui mayor Winton Dalley said, "It was distressing to see that damage but now, every time I look at a piece of this damaged land, I try to envisage what it might look like five years, 10 years, 100 years down the track".

The government has contributed $1 million to the project.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) investment advisor Janine Alfield said, "These farmers are definitely willing to look at different alternatives. They want to stay on their land, they want to improve, and they want to hand it down to future generations".

200 farmers are seeking help through the scheme, with some of them seeing damage to 50 per cent of their farms.

They're exploring forestry, agri-tourism and planting more manuka for honey production and despite the disruption, they're far from dejected.

"That's what the concept of the whole group is - to find positive and opportunities in this prick of a thing," Mr Satterthwaite said.

The scarred hillsides could look very different again in another two years.

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The 7.8 magnitude quake caused widespread destruction when it struck shortly after midnight on November 14 2016. Source: 1 NEWS