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A state of local emergency has been declared

Tuesday 10 January, 2023

A state of local emergency was declared by Deputy Mayor Josh Wharehinga for Tairāwhiti at 10pm.

Ex Tropical Cyclone Hale made landfall around lunchtime today with gale-force winds, swells up to 6m up the coast and heavy rain.

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence controller Nedine Thatcher Swann asks everyone to please stay off the roads and take this weather event seriously.

“We want to ensure our community is aware we have more rain to come and rivers are still rising.

“We have surface flooding across the region and ask everyone to please respect any road barriers that are up.”

State Highway 35 is closed between Okitu at Sirrah Street through to Ruatorea.

MetService predicts a further 30 - 50mm of rain, in addition to what has already fallen.

Peak rates are estimated around 15 - 20 mm/h, with thunderstorms and heavy falls possible during Wednesday morning.

“We’re bracing for the next few hours as the rainfall intensity increases. “High tide passed at 9.30pm but water is still coming off the ranges and into streams which will feed into our rivers so we are monitoring them closely” says Ms Thatcher Swann.

“The Hikuwai River at Willowflat is at 12.44m and rising and is estimated to peak over 13m near midnight tonight.

“Most residents in the vicinity have self-evacuated.”

Waipaoa River at Kanakanaia is at 6.5m and rising, and is estimated to peak between 7 and 7.5m.

There are around 20 local roads closed and contractors will start work to restore access first thing in the morning.

The sewer network is overwhelmed, and emergency valves are open in several locations into the city’s rivers to avoid overflows on private property.

There are power outages across the coast with 387 residents in Matawai without power overnight as it’s too dangerous for crews to check on site.

“We’d like to remind anyone with a septic tank that they may take a while to get back into a working state after all this rain.”

If you have any sewer overflows, land cracks or slipping on your property please call us on 0800 653 800 or take photos or videos and send them to us at [email protected].

Keep up to date on local road closures on Council’s website.

For State Highway road conditions check the Waka Kotahi website.

Keep an eye on Council's website and the Facebook pages for Council and Tairāwhiti Civil Defence for the latest information.

Makarika Road

Makarika Road

Wigan Bridge woody debris

Wigan Bridge clogged with woody debris before it was cleared earlier today.

Mata Road below at the 17.5km mark, where a 1m dropout has occurred today. Mata Road