Volunteers came to the group’s aid after Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) were told of the fire on Stoddart Point, near Diamond Harbour and Purau Bay, across the harbour from Lyttleton.
“Volunteers on board rescue vessel Canterbury Rescue recovered four people from the rocks who were trapped by the fire and returned them to a safe place”, Coastguard NZ wrote on Instagram.
Firefighters were called to the 100 square metre fire on Stoddart Point, which includes a large reserve and the Diamond Harbour Wharf, at 4.30pm, Fire and Emergency Southern shift manager Bailey Wells said.
Volunteers from Governor’s Bay and Diamond Harbour, as well as a paid crew from Spreydon, had put the fire out by 6.30pm.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
Coastguard Canterbury volunteer and master-in-charge onboard the Canterbury Rescue, Rueben Cowan, said the crew had to “skilfully” manoeuvre the vessel through the rocky terrain to save the four strandees.
Cowan said: “We [used] our fire pump during the [rescue], minimising potential risks to our vessel, crew, and the four individuals.”
The four people were assessed for any injuries and were taken to a safe spot.
The coastguard then returned to the scene and helped the Diamond Harbour FENZ crew by offering “crucial safety assistance” for the firefighting helicopter and other crews working near the shoreline.
Photographs show the fire burning, spewing smoke from the bushy area and the charred landscape remaining after the inferno was put out.
Stoddart Point Reserve meets Lyttleton Harbour by way of a steep cliff, popular with tourists and day-trippers from Christchurch. The area, on Banks Peninsula, has many hiking tracks.
Cherie Howie is an Auckland-based reporter who joined the Herald in 2011. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years and specialises in general news and features.
Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.