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Heavy rain impacts


Mother Nature just needs to give us a break, are the words of Wairoa Civil Defence Controller Juanita Savage.

As the Wairoa district reels from the third significant weather event of the year, isolated communities, road closures and slips are the immediate concerns following the weekend’s heavy rain event.

More than 300mm of rain fell over the weekend in in some parts of the district, isolating rural communities with more than 30 people blocked in.

Around 20 roads across the district are closed, with crews working to punch through and restore access where possible.

An Emergency Operations Centre was set up on Sunday morning, with staff checking on local and rural residents, and an evacuation centre was set up at the War Memorial Hall, but it was not needed.

“Heavy rainfall on already saturated ground has significantly impacted our rural communities with massive slips and access issues. Rural communities are suggesting the slipping and damage to land is greater than Cyclone Gabrielle,” said Mrs Savage.

River and surface flooding have impacted the township and immediate surrounding areas – some properties have been affected for the third time this year. At this early stage, two homes have been identified as yellow/partial restriction as a result of Rapid Building Assessments. More assessments are still to be carried out.

Mrs Savage urged people to look after themselves and each other. “This is a challenging time, and our thoughts are with all our impacted whānau and our rural and farming communities.”

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said it is unbelievable that Wairoa has been hit by extreme weather again. “Farming is the backbone of our community, and it has been significantly impacted. This is particularly difficult as some farms were just recovering from previous events, and their repair work of fencing and tracking has now been undone. My heart also goes out to the whānau of those involved in the car crash on Sunday morning when a car was reported to have collided with a slip blocking SH2 between The Crescent and Kiwi Valley Rd. Sadly, one person has died, and one person has been seriously injured. I extend my sympathy and thoughts to the whānau.”

For local network roading updates, please go to

27 November 2023

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