Regional | Flooding

Severe weather batters Tairāwhiti - with more due tonight

A state of emergency has been declared for the Gisborne region as severe weather flooded Tolaga Bay and Tokomaru Bay areas of Tairāwhiti overnight.

Tāirawhiti Civil Defence ordered the evacuation of residents in the Mangatuna area, north of Gisborne early this morning. Power is out for many residents still but parts of State Highway 35 between Gisborne and Tologa Bay are opening for a short time this afternoon.

Parts of SH35 to reopen for a short time this afternoon. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will reopen State Highway 35...

Posted by Tairāwhiti Civil Defence on Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Emergency Management Minister Kiritapu Allen spoke with Te Ao Tapatahi today, saying it’s a “tidy storm that Tairāwhiti is facing this time”.

“This one is at the more severe end of the scale.

“We had several assisted and self-evacuations, about 160 people over the course of the night. There is an ongoing stream of evacuations being conducted throughout the course of the day in anticipation of what's looking to be 'dicey as' this evening."

Between the hours of 7pm tonight through to 7am tomorrow is what Allen says is worrying, with MetService issuing a red alert rain warning.

“That’s on top of course what we've already been through in the past 24 hours.”

Though there are no reports of injury to people, significant damage has been done on properties throughout the region.

“I’ve heard of caravans being picked up and lifted. I’ve seen a whole range of houses that have obviously sustained some damage and, again, we’re looking forward to the next several hours this evening when we anticipate another rough patch of weather, so potentially more damage to follow.”

To get the latest updates, be sure to follow the Tairāwhiti Civil Defence page and Gisborne District Council page. For weather warnings and road conditions, follow the MetService New Zealand and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency - Hawke's Bay and Gisborne pages.