Honeymoon from hell: Pregnant new wife and husband caught up in quake

Kurt and Kailah Sapwell/ Facebook

Kurt and Kailah Sapwell drive as far from the ocean as they can following the earthquake at Kaikoura.

The "perfect wedding" turned into a nightmare for young couple on their honeymoon when the deadly magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck North Canterbury.

Former Cromwell couple Kurt Sapwell and pregnant wife Kailah Sapwell were on the second storey of the historic seaside Kaikoura Boutique Hotel when the quake struck about 12.05am on Monday.

They had driven from Cromwell following their wedding on November 8 and were set to leave for their hometown of Perth on Wednesday.

Newlyweds Kurt and Kailah Sapwell in Kaikoura on their honeymoon before Monday's deadly earthquake.
Kurt Sapwell

Newlyweds Kurt and Kailah Sapwell in Kaikoura on their honeymoon before Monday's deadly earthquake.

"It was f***** man. You wouldn't believe it. I woke up with the bed moving around the room [and] it wasn't on wheels. It got worse and we thought it wasn't going to stop. I thought the hotel was going to come down to be honest. I've never seen anything shake like this before. It was unreal," Kurt Sapwell said.

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The pair rushed to the balcony and prepared to "jump off" before the shaking stopped and the couple turned their attention to the ocean.

Kurt and Kailah Sapwell captured some of the damage in their Heritage Boutique Resort hotel room in Kaikoura after the quake.
Kurt Sapwell

Kurt and Kailah Sapwell captured some of the damage in their Heritage Boutique Resort hotel room in Kaikoura after the quake.

"The sea just disappeared. It had just gone. There were just rocks ... everywhere. I thought 'f***, we have to go now'."

Among the shattered windows, fallen pictures and overturned furniture, the couple packed what gear they could salvage, got in their rental car and headed for high ground.

Along the way they photographed the devastation before hunkering down in their car near Kaikoura Hospital to wait it out.

'It got worse and we thought it wasn't going to stop,' says Kurt Sapwell.
Kurt Sapwell

'It got worse and we thought it wasn't going to stop,' says Kurt Sapwell.

"There was just earthquakes non-stop all night ... [but] we're good."

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Speaking from Kaikoura on Tuesday, Sapwell said there were thousands of people like he and Kailah just "waiting it out".

"We're stuck. There's no sewerage, there's no water, no power. It's just been a waiting game."

The newlyweds took photos of the damage around Kaikoura.
Kurt Sapwell

The newlyweds took photos of the damage around Kaikoura.

Despite "everyone ... sort of walking around but with no direction", people were generally in good spirits and Kaikoura locals had been great providing food, water and gas for cooking, Sapwell said.

He had lined up for petrol each morning along with hundreds of others looking to drive out of the carnage. Civil Defence had "cut it off" on Tuesday morning to save it, he said.

Most people he had bumped into had "a few scrapes" but weren't seriously injured.

The couple is now 'waiting it out' in Kaikoura.
Kurt Sapwell

The couple is now 'waiting it out' in Kaikoura.

 Asked about a timeframe for getting out, Sapwell said he did not know.

"Apparently they are moving 20 people out at a time [by helicopter]. I think we are just going to sit and ride it out. I've got a few beers in the chilly bin."

Three-months pregnant Kailah "wouldn't mind a shower" though, he said.

 - Stuff

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