Rockfalls force people to leave homes

10:38 pm on 13 June 2011

The series of powerful earthquakes that hit Canterbury on Monday caused extensive damage in the Christchurch hill suburbs of Sumner and Redcliffs, bringing down large boulders and forcing people to leave their homes.

Civil Defence said the eastern suburbs suffered extensive damage in the tremors which included a quake measuring magnitude 6.

Large rocks tumbled down from the cliffs at the corner of Heberton Avenue and Nayland Street in Sumner, and people were asked to leave their homes.

Radio New Zealand's reporter says there have been rockfalls at the base of other cliffs near where a massive boulder destroyed the Sumner RSA in February.

The reporter says part of a building on cliffs near Clifton Terrace has come down due to the quake.

She says many people were hugging each other and were in tears.

Superintendent Dave Cliff of Christchurch police says the south side of Wakefield Avenue in Sumner has been evacuated due to the possibility of rockfalls.

Motorists are also asked to avoid Ferry Road from Tunnel Road through to Ferrymead Bridge.

More damage in Lyttelton

In Lyttelton, the tower of the historic Timeball Station has collapsed. The Category 1 listed building was severely damaged in the February quake and was in the process of being demolished.

Resident Rita Langley says several buildings, including two churches, have come down, and a clock tower that had survived all the other shakes has finally split down the middle and stopped working.

Ms Langley says neighbours saw huge boulders fall from cliff tops. When she went into the town to see if people needed help, people looked dazed but there did not seem to be anyone with injuries.

A Port Hills resident says there has been a significant rock fall on Castle Rock on Banks Peninsula. Erica Collingwood says a large amount of rock broke off the formation, but it was far away from any houses.