Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway before the earthquake

Image: Shellie Evans | ©


Information about DOC facilities following the Kaikōura earthquake on 14 November 2016.

Update November 2017

Our work continues on managing the impacts on native species and visitor facilities from the Kaikōura earthquake that struck on 14 November 2016.

Our DOC South Marlborough district was most seriously affected with landslides, rockfall and land uplift causing significant landscape change in coastal and backcountry conservation areas. Damage occurred to huts, tracks, ecosystems and some habitat of some native species. 

Places to go 

Most South Marlborough and Kaikōura conservation areas, tracks and huts are open for use after being inspected and any damage repaired. Some remain closed because they unsafe, inaccessible or repairs are still to be carried out. 

Check the latest alerts to find out which places are still closed and other information you should know about – see Malborough alerts

Native wildlife and plants 

Hutton’s shearwater and New Zealand fur seals had some damage to their habitats in the earthquake but are still being seen in large numbers. Work is continuing to determine the full impact on the Hutton’s shearwater population and what changes there may be in the Kaikōura seal population. 

A considerable number of seals remain at Ohau Point, where two landslides fell and State Highway 1 reconstruction work is taking place, but many of the seals have moved to new territory to the north. 

The Ohau Stream waterfall pool, that was a popular spot for watching seal pups, remains unsafe and closed to public access. A large section of rock face broke away in the earthquake, filling the pool with rocks. The rock face is unstable with danger of further rockfall. 

South Marlborough has a high number of plants, plant communities and animals that are found nowhere else. Earthquake-generated slips and dams have affected some plant communities, considerably reducing their size and distribution and goats are browsing on what vegetation remains. We are controlling pests and looking at what other measures are needed to protect native plant life and help it recover. 

Supporting the reconstruction of the coastal route 

We’re working closely with North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) as it reinstates State Highway 1 on the Kaikōura coast. It's striving to minimise the work’s impact on the natural environment and moves seals away from road reconstruction work to keep them safe. We regularly monitor this work and provide advice and expertise. 

NZ Transport Agency’s Kaikōura earthquake response. 

Some of the activities that NCTIR needs to do to restore the coastal route require permission from DOC under conservation legislation we administer. View permits DOC has issued for this work

2016 media releases

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