10 Aug 2016

Children choppered out of snow-hit Hawke's Bay

10:50 am on 10 August 2016

Children in rural areas of Hawke's Bay are being evacuated by helicopter following the weekend's devastating snowstorm.

Up to 60cm of snow fell on the Napier-Taupo Road (State Highway 5) over the weekend.

Up to 60cm of snow fell on the Napier-Taupo Road (State Highway 5) over the weekend. Photo: Supplied/ NZTA

The heavy snow brought down hundreds of power poles, cutting electricity to 400 rural homes in the Taupō plains and Hawke's Bay regions.

The lines company Unison said it may be up to a month before some of the more remote homes and farms on the Taupō Plains have their power restored.

Unison is bringing in more than 100 people to work in the affected area, which has a 60km radius.

Hawke's Bay Rural Support Trust coordinator Lon Anderson said there was an urgent need for generators so cows could be milked.

He said some farmers have decided to evacuate children, and others who needed to leave had been taken out by helicopter from higher areas.

"Helicopters have been up there, taking out children in particular, and anybody that needs to come down country a little bit and get out of the road and just leave the farmers and their staff up there to assess the damage, because there's been quite a bit of infrastructural damage."

Mr Anderson said there would be a big financial impact for farmers who lost livestock, had to buy feed and had not been able to milk.

He said outbuildings and fences had been flattened and power poles and trees have fallen down.

The Trust would be keeping an eye on farmers as the full impact of the storm became clear, he said.