Regional | Aotea

Infrastructure cut off on Aotea / Great Barrier six days after storm

Six days after the storm which swamped Aotea, Great Barrier Is. and Tāmaki Makaurau, the outpost's main port remains blocked by landslips. Photo /

Almost a week after torrential downpours hit Aotea, Great Barrier Island, residents say some of the island’s key infrastructure remains inaccessible.

The storm, which set a daily record for rainfall in Auckland last Friday, cut off the island’s main port, which residents and businesses rely on for food deliveries and other supplies.

"A landslip on the road to Shoal Bay where the ferry comes into Tryphena made the wharf inaccessible," Aotea local Kelly Klink told

Aotea is the biggest motu in the Hauraki Gulf at 285 square kilometres. Klink says most of the island’s settlements are coastal and require traversing narrow, winding roads through steep maunga.

Contractors work to clear a pōhutukawa, felled by a landslip at Puriri Bay Road on Aotea/ Great Barrier Is. . Photo / Paula Maijer via Facebook

Tryphena is the island's largest population centre but ferries have been diverted to Whangaparapara harbour, 40 minutes north.

Motairehe and Kawa, the island's only marae, were cut off by a slip that also left those living in the northernmost tip of the motu isolated and unable to attend work.

“A slip at Awana has made things difficult,” Klink says.

The 900-strong population had swelled on Friday, ahead of  ‘Wingman’, a festival scheduled for Saturday, but later postponed.

Klink (Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea) says the storm has brought out the best in island residents.

“Planes and ferries were cancelled because of the bad weather but the community organised places [for visitors],” Klink says.

Residents offered beds for those who had bookings at the island’s drenched DoC campgrounds, and the local board and tourism staff had been "amazing", setting up a phone line for residents and visitors caught up in the storm.

A car taken out by a pōhutukawa, felled by a landslip on the road to Whangaparapara Harbour on Aotea / Great Barrier Is. Photo / Michael Graham via Facebook

“Everyone has stuck together, a response centre was set up at Kaitoke School [in the centre of the island] for those who were displaced in terms of unable to get back to their whare,” Klink says.

Aotea is 90km off Auckland’s coast, and damage to personal property has been more limited than that in Tāmaki Klink says.

While slips, one involving a vehicle, were widespread, nobody was hurt.

A statement from the council on Thursday says contractors are working to remove the slips and stabilise the road to the port at Shoal Bay but that drivers should "take care".

"The number of days before access can be restored is currently unknown," the statement said.

"We will continue to update."

Public Interest Journalism