Public Health Information for Hurunui and Kaikoura residents

These public health messages are for Hurunui and Kaikoura residents – updated on Monday 21st November 2016.

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser after toileting, and before and after eating or preparing food. You can get more hand sanitiser from the Kaikoura Health Centre.
  • Boil or treat all water from taps and tankers before drinking, brushing teeth or using in food preparation.  Treat your water by adding 1/4 teaspoon of household bleach per 2 litres of water and leave for 2 hours before using.
  • Call your GP or Healthline (0800 6111 116) if you require medical attention. Call 111 if it’s an emergency.
  • Stay at home if you have any diarrhoea, vomiting or fever, and contact your GP immediately. Limit contact with other people, do not go to work and do not prepare food for anyone. A healthy person can also go to Kaikoura Health for advice and any supplies you may need.
  • Take care with food. Use chilled food first, then frozen, then canned, and lastly packaged food. If unsure about the safety of food due to lack of chilled or frozen storage, do not eat it.
  • Check on your neighbours and look after yourself and your family/whānau. Connecting with people, helping others, giving your time and physical activity are all proven to boost your wellbeing.
  • Call the Earthquake Support Line on 0800 777 846 if you need support, advice or just someone to talk to.
  • Waterways may be contaminated with sewage. Avoid contact with rivers, sea water, ponds, puddles or other surface water. Do not swim, paddle, fish, or gather shellfish or any other food from oceans and rivers.
  • Bury human waste if your toilet is not working  (faeces, poo, vomit) in your garden. Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser immediately after dealing with any human waste.

Call the 0800 Government Helpline on 0800 779 997 if you need support or financial assistance to manage the impact of the earthquakes, as an individual or business. This helpline is available from 7am to 9pm, seven days a week.

Health services and advice in Kaikoura

Kaikoura Health in Deal Street is open and fully staffed. Health care is free of charge to everyone in Kaikoura at the moment.

You can call the usual Kaikoura practice number (03) 319 3500 anytime of the day or night and a nurse will able to help you.

If it’s urgent, the nurse can tell you what to do and where to go. The nurse can provide free health advice 24/7 and can arrange over the phone a repeat prescription, or non-urgent appointment with a nurse or a GP at the health centre.

Note: People in other areas of North Canterbury should call their general practice, and will pay reduced rates for quake-related appointments.

If you have been advised not to use your toilet, or you have no running water

Toilet systems are likely to be affected by a disaster through broken pipes, flooding of the sewerage system, or breakdown of the pumping machinery. Human waste can spread disease.

You may need a makeshift toilet if your toilet cannot be used. Avoid overflows, flooding or ponding caused by broken sewerage lines. Contact your local council, public health unit or civil defence sector post for advice on diverting overflowing sewerage.

How to make a temporary toilet

If your toilet is still intact, put a strong plastic bag under your toilet seat to collect waste.


  • Line a bucket or rubbish bin with a strong, leak-proof plastic bag.
  • Put half a cup of liquid bleach in the bag.
  • Make a seat from two planks of wood or use a toilet seat on top of the container.
  • Keep the bin completely covered when not in use, to prevent attracting flies.
  • Tie the top of the bag firmly when full and place it inside another bag.
  • Dig a hole well away from the vegetable garden and downhill from any water source and bury the bag.
  • Make sure the bag is well covered with dirt.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet or handling human waste.

How to make a long-drop toilet

  • Dig a hole up to one metre deep well away from the vegetable garden and any water source.
  • Make a seat out of planks of wood.
  • Cover the waste properly with dirt after each use.
  • Throw in a little garden lime, insecticide or disinfectant to reduce smells and flies.
  • Use the long-drop until it is full to within 300mm of ground level.
  • Cover completely with soil and dig a new long-drop.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet or handling human waste.
Published on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 06/12/2016

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