National | Cyclone Gabrielle

Wairoa residents slowly returning to homes as number of red-stickered properties reduces

The clean-up in Wairoa following Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo: RNZ / Jonty Dine


Some Wairoa residents are still yet to return to their homes following Cyclone Gabrielle but the house situation is improving.

The town in the Hawke's Bay region was hit hard by flooding during the cyclone.

It left many homeless. Fuel, food, water and communications were limited and there was a mammoth clean-up ahead.

But mayor Craig Little told RNZ less than five homes remain red-stickered, meaning no-one can enter them.

Inspections have seen many downgraded to a yellow sticker instead, meaning some access was now possible.

Little said residents were also able to live in a growing number of those homes.

"About 117 have come down to yellow," he said.

"A lot of those yellow that were yellow are now sort of transitioning back into white which means you can live in them. We've probably got about 250-odd homes all up affected."

Little said it was not all doom and gloom but there was a long recovery to go and some people have lost their life possessions.