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Local infrastructure under pressure

papuni 17 07

Continual rain and saturated ground have put Wairoa’s infrastructure under immense pressure.

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna thanked the public for their support over such a challenging time.

“We have some major issues, particularly across Wairoa’s roading network, and Council is continuing to provide welfare support and wellness drops to isolated communities.

“With many roads damaged by the 2022 weather events, and Cyclone Gabrielle, the wet winter has caused further slips and dropouts and closed roads throughout the district.

“Access is our priority, and we are doing our best to clear slips and get roads open. However, the constant wet weather is causing many delays.

“We know this is a tough time for everyone, and we urge you to please be patient while staff and contractors work across the rain-related issues. Everyone is doing everything they can, but the constant wet weather means we seem to be taking one step forward and six steps backwards.

“The ground is soaked, and we are getting slips on top of slips. There has been a significant slip at the 12.5km mark on the Papuni Road which has created additional isolation issues. At approximately 100,000m3 this slip is one of the largest land movements in the district in some time.

“The original slip occurred a couple of weeks ago, and a track was established over the slip to provide access to Papuni Station. Last week’s persistent rain saw the slip get even bigger, with track access now marginal.

“There are slips and dropouts throughout the Mahia area, in particular three large slips around Black’s Beach on the Nuhaka- Opoutama Road.

“There are also bridge reinstatement challenges with no secure access at Te Puna or Glenbrook crossings.

“The rainfall has also impacted the Te Reinga Bridge temporary access which has been delayed by an additional four and seven weeks due to design tweaks and ground conditions.

“High rainfall also caused discharge issues at the wastewater ponds at Mahia and difficulties around the Mahanga water supply.

“Again, thank you for your patience, and we appreciate your support and understanding while we work through these issues.

Mr Tipuna said Council staff are also talking with people from communities to ensure residents are as prepared as possible.

We urge all our local people, particularly those who live in isolated areas, or know there are access challenges,  to please be prepared.

“We need whānau to ensure their specific household needs are taken care of in case they become isolated.

“If your home becomes inaccessible, please ensure you have enough food and water for three or more days and that your meals include long-lasting food that does not rely on electricity to cook.

“Plan so you have a supply to meet your particular needs, such as medicines, baby supplies or special dietary requirements.

“It is essential to make emergency plans so everyone in your family knows what to do if you become isolated or in case of an emergency. It’s also important to stay connected, you may not have power, cell phone or internet, but keep a battery radio handy and try and stay in touch with neighbours and look out for each other.

For more information, please go to: 

For road closures and updates go to:

Photo: The landslide on Papuni Road is one of the largest land movements in the Wairoa district in some time. 

17 July 2023

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