New Zealand is a particularly idyllic nation, but its peace and beauty is
shattered every once in awhile by earthquakes. These shakes don't happen often, but when they do they can be quite the shock - and though most are just small rumblings in the earth, in the
last decade there have been a few sizeable quakes which have caused devastation in particular areas of the country. These have notably included the major Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and
2011 which damaged Christchurch, and the very recent quake centered just southwest of Kaikoura which was felt across the upper South and lower North Islands.
What's the current damage?
The recent quake has unfortunately resulted in loss of life, with two people dead, one being a heart attack victim. The major damage is limited largely
to Kaikoura, a picturesque town on the east coast of the South Island (known for whale watching) where buildings were compromised, power and water supplies cut off, roads ripped up and
landslides have blocked the main routes in and out of town. Residents and tourists have been evacuated by air and sea, and the quakes have affected wildlife and stock animals in the
More minor damage was sustained as far away as Wellington - this included broken windows, power cuts and damage to highways. Large parts of the coasts of New Zealand were subject to
tsunami warnings which meant some evacuations and disruption to public transport, but not much came of these other than some bigger-than-normal surges. Aftershocks have been felt in various
places in the days following.
These aftershocks are small and won't last long - but the question on the minds of many people is, what are the risks of earthquakes in future? Essentially, the answer is that the
risks are the same as they have ever been. While New Zealand is getting a reputation for quakes, and is indeed located on fault lines and the Pacific Basin â€œRing of Fire,â€ major ones are
still very rare events- and when they do occur, the effects vary widely depending on the location. The country has very stringent building regulations which minimises damage to homes and
other structures. The vast majority of quakes which do occur are not strong enough to be felt.
How are cruises affected?
The vast majority of New Zealand's infrastructure is still fully functional, and this includes all cruise ports other than Kaikoura
, which is only occasionally visited by small expedition ships. There are none scheduled to
arrive until late December 2016. Any cruise in the next few weeks and months can and will go ahead as scheduled with no need for detours or itinerary changes.
Add the small risk of major quakes to the fact that cruise ships spend a good amount of time offshore sailing between ports, and the concerns of any cruise passenger visiting New
Zealand should be very small indeed.
Supporting New Zealand through this tough time
The emotional and financial effects of an event like this week's earthquake can be felt far beyond the physical effects, and New Zealanders will be looking to get everything back
onto an even keel. If you'd like to help by contributing to the clean-up effort and restoration of services to those affected, the Red Cross
is taking donations for communities hit.
Tourism is also a big part of New Zealand's livelihood, so continuing with your planned cruise to New Zealand is a great way to support the country and its people post-earthquake,
and is no more dangerous than a trip elsewhere. Enjoy your holiday and the natural beauty of this unforgettable country!