The tourism operators in Kaikoura, a coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand, are celebrating the opening of their new Kaikoura Marina, a year to the day when a massive earthquake rocked their town.

For wildlife tourism specialists, Whale Watch Kaikoura and Encounter Kaikoura, the multi-million-dollar marina provides improved facilities and a return to their pre-earthquake summer operating schedules – a real cause to celebrate after 12 months of striving to keep their businesses alive.

The marina opening comes just a month before the anticipated reopening of the main north-south highway linking Kaikoura with Marlborough to the north and the ferries between New Zealand’s North and South islands. Remedial works will be ongoing but the road is scheduled to reopen for daytime traffic from December 15.