'Junk food' plane lifts spirits in quake-hit NZ town

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Media captionBurgers, chicken and pizzas were crammed into the six-seater - footage from New Zealand Herald

A New Zealand plasterer has organised a plane delivery of hundreds of take-away burgers and pizzas for the town hit hardest by Monday's earthquake.

Robert Coombes, 49, gathered donations, filled a friend's aircraft and landed in Kaikoura for lunchtime on Friday.

About 2,000 residents have been cut off by damaged roads, although a convoy of military trucks carrying supplies arrived later.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake left two dead and caused major landslides.

Mr Coombes, told the New Zealand Herald the plane was loaded with 400 pieces of Kentucky Fried Chicken, 300 McDonald's burgers, 50 Domino's pizza, footballs and sweets - donated mainly by company managers in his hometown of Nelson, 130km away.

'Little bit of happiness'

Some staff at the fast food outlets had come into work two hours early to prepare the food, he said. "It's just incredible".

Mr Coombes said he wanted to "put a smile on these faces, even if it's only for one day".

"There's necessities, but with kids you need a bit more than bread and water.

"I just thought I'd fill the plane with junk food and bring a little bit of happiness to the place."

Image copyright NZ Herald

Residents of the coastal town had already received two planeloads of donated groceries, organised by estate agent Trevor Hurley from Ashburton, The Press newspaper reports.

He founded Trev's BBQ to fly in supplies and put on barbecues for people affected by the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, and swung into action again earlier this week.

About 1,000 people, including many tourists, have been evacuated from the town.

Helicopters have been flying provisions from navy vessels anchored offshore, but the convoy of 27 trucks was delayed by bad weather on Thursday.

Main roads and rail links to the town are blocked by massive landslides, caused by the powerful earthquake which lifted the sea bed up to 2m (6.5ft) along a 110km (70 mile) stretch of coastline.

There have been well over 2,000 aftershocks since Monday and the country's official GeoNet science agency is warning that more are likely.

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Media captionNew Zealand earthquake: Seabed lifts after fault rupture
Image caption New Zealand lies on a fault line between continental plates

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