Hundreds of trapped tourists will be airlifted out of Kaikoura this morning.
1200 tourists are stranded there and RNZ News has been told as many as 50 helicopters will evacuate them.
The navy ship HMNZS Canterbury is already on its way to the town with supplies.
Strong aftershocks have continued to rattle buildings and nerves overnight in the town and central regions of the country.
One of the trapped tourists Hayley Menzies says she woke up to be getting thrashed around the bedroom and raced into the next room to get her baby.
"I was flung against the doorway and trying to grab him while the room was shaking and it was pretty frightening for us because there are no food options in the town."
The town's marae is the welfare centre and it's been looking after tourists and locals alike.
And those not evacuated today from Kaikoura will be offered crayfish to eat, with a local fishing company donating nearly 400 of them.
The Red Cross is also in Kaikoura.
Simon Makker says the aid agency's response is just getting underway.
"On the first night we had 700 people come through the welfare centre and on the second night there were around 80-100 people sleeping at the marae.
"This is just beginning for us, this is just the very early response phase for Red Cross."