Kaikōura shop owner: 'We've just got to reinvent"

4:02 pm on 23 January 2017
Detail business owner Lisa Moffat Kaikoura earthquake.

Lisa Moffat has set up a pop-up shop after the building housing her business, Detail, was yellow-stickered. She has just secured the lease on the new premises. Her husband, Kaikoura Surf owner Wayne Shanks, will share the space Photo: RNZ / Joelle Dally

Lisa Moffat just got some good news.

The Kaikōura businesswoman started a pop-up shop off Beach Rd after her old building on the town's main street was badly damaged in November's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

On Friday, she scored the lease - meaning her homewares shop, Detail, can stay put, for a while at least.

"This is really positive," she says.

Kaikoura Surf has been shut since the 14 November earthquake. Business owner is Wayne Shanks. His wife Lisa Moffat's shop was next door. The whole building was yellow-stickered so both lost business.

Kaikoura Surf has been shut since the 14 November earthquake. Photo: RNZ / Joelle Dally

Ms Moffat and her husband, Kaikōura Surf owner Wayne Shanks, had neighbouring stores in the same building on the town's main street.

Neither have been back in.

Extra stock bought for the Christmas rush is strewn across the shop floors. Clothes racks are where they fell the November night the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit.

Kaikoura Surf has been shut since the 14 November earthquake. Business owner is Wayne Shanks. His wife Lisa Moffat's shop was next door. The whole building was yellow-stickered so both lost business.

Kaikoura Surf owner Wayne Shanks has not been into his shop since the earthquake hit, tossing gear over the store. Photo: RNZ / Joelle Dally

The building, along with 35 others in the town, is yellow-stickered, meaning it cannot be used. Two, including the fenced-off Adelphi Hotel across the road, are marked red.

Business owners hope a late-summer surge will get them through winter.

"It hit at the worst possible time. The three weeks we were out usually determine what happens for the year," Ms Moffat says.

"After you take a breath and stop crying you have to say, well, how can we make it work?"

The Adelphi Hotel Kaikoura earthquake. Building owner is Bernard Harman 027 439 3925

Authorities red-stickered the Adelphi Hotel, meaning entry is banned. Photo: RNZ / Joelle Dally

According to i-SITE figures, tourist spending last January was about $800,000. This month it is about $250,000 so far, but trending up.

Rental vans and campers dot the main street, but it is still too easy to find a park. With about a third of the accommodation still closed, no vacancy signs are popping up.

About 88 percent of the town's retail and hospitality has reopened. It is the same figure for tourist activities, which was at 53 percent two weeks after the earthquake.

Whale Watch, which does three daily tours (normally it is 16) while the South Bay marina is dredged, says it gets up to 40 people on its wait list.

The 10am Whale Watch trip was cancelled on 20 January 2017 because of high swells.

Whale Watch customers at the Kaikoura Marina. Photo: RNZ / Joelle Dally

Tomorrow, an insurance team will go into Ms Moffat's old shop and remove what can be salvaged.

Kaikōura Surf will go in the back of the pop-up shop. Mr Shanks might start a women's surf school. Ms Moffat - a psychologist in a past life - wants to hold life-coaching workshops.

"We're all quite worried about winter - it's going to be really tough for people.

"We've just got to reinvent… you just have to be more creative with your business ideas."

Bernard Harman owner of the Adelphi Hotel on Kaikoura's main street and a crayfishing business phone 03 319 6478 / 027 439 3925

Bernard Harmon owns the Adelphi Hotel on Kaikoura's main street. Photo: RNZ / Joelle Dally

Bernard Harmon plans to rebuild a modern version of the Adelphi Hotel on the site, with retail at the bottom and a hotel on top.

He grew up in the town and bought the building a few months before earthquake. He is waiting to hear back from his insurance company, but thinks it will come down.

In the meantime, crayfishing will keep him busy. It was out for about four weeks after the earthquake - paua and seaweed fisheries remain closed - but Mr Harmon will catch his annual quota regardless.

"This is the one I enjoy," he says, draining water from the tanks. The animals are China-bound for the Chinese New Year.

"It's business. S**t happens. You've just got to go with it."

No vacancy signs have started to appear in Kaikoura, including at the Kaikoura Beach Front Villa.

No vacancy signs have started to appear in Kaikoura. Photo: rNZ

By the numbers: Kaikōura building inspections

  • Red-stickered (entry banned): Two commercial buildings, 32 residential
  • Yellow-stickered (entry restricted): 36 commercial buildings, 244 residential
  • White-stickered (can be used): 1488 buildings (commercial and residential)
  • Total inspected: More than 2070

* Accurate to 20 January 2017.

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