Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has thanked all those involved in helping to get 449 tourists trapped in Kaikoura safely to Christchurch.
The tourists were evacuated on Wednesday by the HMNZS Canterbury.
In a letter penned today Mayor Dalziel said it had taken a concerted effort from Civil Defence staff and volunteers, foreign embassies, Council staff and a number of local businesses to ensure the 449 passengers were met safely and helped along to their next destination in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“I would like to thank all those involved in the effort for their willingness to respond, their quickness to prepare and the care they showed tourists and locals who had been stranded in Kaikoura since Monday morning,’’ the Mayor said.
“Each and every person involved in the process went out of their way to make the passengers feel welcome and help them on their way. I am proud of the city’s efforts over the past 24 hours.’’
The Canterbury docked at 1.30am Thursday. The evacuees were met by Civil Defence and taken by bus to Horncastle Arena where refreshments were provided while they planned their next steps.
Many had decided to head to Christchurch International Airport as soon as possible to meet their onward flight, where they were met by staff on the ground, while others went directly to pre-booked accommodation, were picked up by friends or family, or were hosted by either the Canterbury University in the halls of residence or at Spencer Park.
Mayor Dalziel offered specific thanks to:
“Most of all, I would like to acknowledge the 449 passengers who arrived in our city aboard the HMNZS Canterbury this morning. Despite experiencing a major disaster, being stranded for several days and a long journey in the middle of the night, people were gracious, thankful and patient as we worked through the arrival process,’’ Mayor Dalziel said.