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NZ Navy are busy bees in Kaikoura

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/11/2016
Onboard the HMNZS Canterbury. © Naval Photographic Unit/AAP Image Onboard the HMNZS Canterbury.

New Zealand's navy turned Noah's Ark last week when it not only rescued hundreds of Kaikoura residents and their dogs and a cat but also a collection of 30,000 bees.

"Many people took what they could fit into a suitcase or two - the things closest to their hearts. One of the evacuees just could not leave his bees behind," HMNZS Canterbury Commander Simon Rooke said.

"I smiled when I read the cargo manifest. It is the type of entry you'd probably see if they did an inventory of what went into Noah's Ark."

Since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake jolted North Canterbury on November 14, amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury and the Air Force's NH90 helicopters have rescued about 900 people.

The HMNZS Canterbury alone was abuzz with activity, evacuating about 640 people and carrying 9.3 tonnes of baggage.

"The ship does a meticulous count of everything we bring on board," Cmdr Rooke said.

"Last Saturday, we evacuated 192 people together with 2.3 tonnes of baggage, one cat, 14 dogs and about 30,000 bees - they were one thing we didn't count exactly."

The defence force also delivered about 250 tonnes of vital supplies to quake-damaged communities by land, sea and air as it mobilised about 560 personnel, 11 aircraft and four vessels.

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