A massive landslide at Ohau Point in Kaikoura has wiped out a special seal sanctuary just weeks from breeding season.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) says it's not yet known how many seals have been killed, but some will have been out at sea foraging at the time of the earthquake.
DoC staff familiar with the area say aerial photos of the damage make it clear that the nursery for pups has been destroyed.
The spot off State Highway 1 just outside Kaikoura is popular with tourists, with the waterfall and sanctuary just a few minutes' walk from the road.
The earthquake has had an effect on more than just the seals and the town's now world-famous cows.
Watch footage below of the sanctuary before Monday's quake.