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Determination of volunteers and crews commended

Friday 13 January, 2023

Monty Manuel push-biked for two hours across rugged terrain yesterday to get urgent medical supplies to a resident in Whareponga by Ruatorea.

Mr Manuel is the Fire Brigade Leader Senior Officer at Ruatorea and a vital cog in the community, says Tairāwhiti Civil Defence Controller Nedine Thatcher Swann.

“Monty’s story is a testament to the resilience we are seeing on the coast as they work together to ensure everyone is safe after being hit by another extreme weather event.

“It is one of many stories we hear of as residents, contractors, crews and agencies all work together for our community.”

Ms Thatcher Swann says as the internet and power is reconnected to most of the cut-off communities today, it is expected more welfare needs will come through to Civil Defence.

“Please let us know if anyone needs help.”

Roading crews have been ramped up to deal with 432 faults across our network, with people reminded to adhere to road closures.

Queens Drive on Titirangi/Kaiti Hill is closed this morning as crews clear slips on the hill.

Food, petrol, medication and gas bottles are being flown up the coast by helicopter to residents on Tauwhareparae Road who have been cut off since Tuesday.

The NZ Defence Force is also delivering food to Four Squares by Unimog, and there are still 137 households without power.

Last night half of the woody debris was cleared from under the Gladstone Road bridge as contractors were lowered onto the debris to chainsaw it up for removal. Crews will be back at the bridge tonight and are expected to clear the rest.,

Chorus teams have been flown in to find and fix the broken fibre cable so communication can be restored.

Air Ruatoria is flying up the Coast with Eftpos and Starlink technology to reconnect them as welfare parcels are being distributed by community links in Ruatorea.

Ms Thatcher Swann says as the focus remains on reconnecting access and power to cut-off communities, the Civil Defence team is also keeping a close eye on next week’s weather.

“There could still be more slips and slumps around the region.”

A large landslide dam in Waiorongomai, near Ruatorea, was reported to Civil Defence yesterday.

“Our principal scientist Murry Cave is flying over the landslide dam today to undertake an urgent assessment with GNS.”

Minister and MP for the East Coast Kiri Allan has visited Civil Defence over the response.

Minister and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, Meka Whaitiri, arrived in Gisborne this morning and was briefed by Civil Defence before flying over the worst-hit areas to see the damage first-hand.

“With more Government officials anticipated to visit the region, we will be working closely with agencies to support recovery efforts in the coming weeks,” says Ms Thatcher Swann.

“Right now our focus is supporting whanau in need and reconnecting our communities.”

Transfer Stations at Matawai, Te Puia, Te Araroa and Tokomaru Bay remain closed until further notice.

State Highway 35 is still closed between Tokomaru Bay and Ruatorea.

Waka Kotahi is opening up SH35 between Tokomaru Bay and Tolaga Bay/Uawa at 2pm and 4pm today to lead cars through in a convoy. It will remain closed outside of these times until further notice.

The city’s wastewater network is slowly returning to normal, with some scours already closed.

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.

Gladstone Road bridge

Chainsaw Gladstone Road bridge

Monty Manuel

Mangatuna flooding

Nedine Thatcher Swann and Ben Green

Waiorongomai Landslide