30 Jan 2023

Severe weather continues in North Island: What you need to know

9:31 pm on 30 January 2023
Residents on Camphora Place in West Auckland's Ranui are picking up the pieces at their homes after Momutu Stream overflowed and flooded their properties. Mark Griffin (pictured) says it's the second time it's flooded in 18 months.

Residents on Camphora Place in West Auckland's Ranui are picking up the pieces at their homes after Momutu Stream overflowed and flooded their properties. Mark Griffin (pictured) says it is the second time it has flooded in 18 months. Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver

Parts of the North Island are experiencing landslips, road closures and flooding in homes and businesses and more heavy rain is on the way. Here is what you need to know as the severe weather continues.

Weather forecast

As of Monday afternoon, the current set of weather warnings have been upgraded to a red warning for Auckland north of Orewa from Tuesday 5pm to Wednesday 5am.

Auckland Emergency Management says: "Due to the multiple bursts of heavy rainfall experienced since Friday, the region is vulnerable to further rainfall due to ground saturation.

"This means that even 'ordinary' amounts of rainfall will quickly exacerbate existing slips, river levels, and produce further flooding quite quickly. "

Strong north-easterly winds are expected to cause significant treefall (onto roads and power lines).

Orange heavy rain warnings for Auckland south of Orewa and Great Barrier remain in force. Impacts are still expected in these areas.

People are being asked to reconsider the need to travel in the time the warnings are in place.

If you need to do works to better prepare your property for more rainfall, the recommendation is for Aucklanders to do this this early tomorrow to ensure your property is as well prepared for the expected weather.

Waste from deluge

Aucklanders affected by the floods can drop off storm-related waste for free at nine transfer stations throughout the region.

"This will be an honesty system and please don't get in the way of your neighbours who may be in greater need than you - and please phone 0800 22 22 00 to give your name and address first," Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown said in a statement.

More than 300 council staff and contractors are working to remove storm-waste from roadsides. The council said this was an option for people as a last resort - for those with no vehicle to get to a transfer station and no other way of disposing of the waste.

The council will announce more details about this on Tuesday morning.

"It is important to remember that some insurance companies won't cover you for property you throw away before they assess your claim - so be sure to talk to them first, before you do anythng. And insurance companies might also pay for removals costs - so check that too."

Regular rubbish and recycling collections will occur as normal, under the amended schedule given Monday is a public holiday for Aucklanders.

Road closures and schools, unis, early childhood centres to stay shut

The Education Ministry has ordered a week-long shut down of all of Auckland's education organisations to help minimise traffic on roads while vital infrastructure is repaired. Schools were scheduled to reopen between tomorrow and 7 February.

Slips, flooding, and cracked roads have seen multiple state highways in the upper North Island remain closed following the severe storm.

On Monday afternoon, the Transport Agency said SH16 had been closed North of Auckland from Kaukapakapa north to West Coast Road because of significant flooding.

In Northland, State Highway 1 was blocked by large slips between Brynderwyn and Waipu, and SH1 was closed between the SH15 Port Marsden Highway and Marsden Point Road.

South of Auckland, State Highway 2 was closed from Pōkeno to Mangatarata.

A slip had blocked State Highway 37 in Waikato, between Hangatiki and Waitomo Caves.

Slips meant SH31 was closed between Kawhia and Ngutunui and the road had been closed again between Ngutuni Road and Kaimango Road because of more slips.

And SH26 was closed between Te Aroha to Paeroa because of surface water.

On the Coromandel Peninsula, the Waka Kotahi website said SH25 between Waiomu and Tapu had reopened. But the stretch of SH25 between Coromandel town and Whitianga had been closed because of multiple slips.

Further down the Coromandel Peninsula, road damage meant State Highway 25A was closed between Kopu and Hikuai.

State Highway 25 over the Coromandel has completely collapsed at the summit.

State Highway 25 over the Coromandel has completely collapsed at the summit. Photo: Supplied / Waka Kotahi

People were urged to travel only when absolutely necessary, and those who must travel were recommended to use the Waka Kotahi journey planner and to take extra care.

Meanwhile, controller Rachel Kelleher said since Friday, 440 stranded cars had been towed and dozens more remained on the road needing to be towed.

A landslip in West Auckland's Titirangi.

Photo: RNZ/Mohammad Alafeshat


People who were due to fly out of Auckland were being urged to check whether their flight was going ahead before making their way to the airport.

While the domestic terminal is operating as usual, IT problems at the international airport were slowing down arrivals and departures.

Kelleher said operations could take a while to return to normal.

She said those picking up passengers should arrange to do so outside the terminal if possible.

Train services

Auckland Emergency Management said several slips were affecting the rail network.

Kelleher said eastern, western and southern lines would resume operating but with a reduced timetable.

Insurance claims

An insurance company said claim volumes were already high following the flooding in the upper North Island.

Tower Insurance chief claims officer Steve Wilson said while it was too early to estimate overall numbers, they were expecting the Auckland flooding to be a big event.

He said the company was experiencing high claims volumes and was increasing staff on its phone lines, its online claims team, and in its Fiji-based call centre.

Assessors had been on the ground in affected areas since early Saturday, with additional assessors being flown in from around the country to help.

Landslips and homes without water

Northern suburbs of Auckland and Titirangi appear to have been some of the worst areas hit by the heavy rain overnight.

Auckland Emergency Management duty controller Rachel Kelleher said northern regions like Wellsford and Warkworth had been hit by more than 60 millimetres of rain and there was some flooding.

In West Auckland, there were landslips in Titirangi, with some houses very close to falling off a cliff.

Police said four properties there were evacuated due to the slips. The were no reports of injuries.

And clusters of houses there remain without useable water after damage from flooding.

Residents on Comphora Place in West Auckland's Ranui are picking up the pieces at their homes after the Momutu Stream overflowed and flooded their properties.

Inside a property affected by the flooding in Ranui, West Auckland. Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver

Watercare confirmed that some houses in South Titirangi, Green Bay and Waiatarua were reporting discoloured water, low water pressure, and others had been completely cut off.

Watercare said tankers had been deployed to those areas and the locations were available on its social media page.

It said it didn't yet know the number of households impacted, and was asking customers to report faults to its website.

Read more:

Four deaths confirmed

A fourth person was found dead on Sunday as a result of Auckland's catastrophic floods.

In a statement, police said search and rescue who had been looking for a person swept away by floodwaters in Waikato's Onewhero had found a man's body.

Earlier on Sunday, police named 34-year-old Daniel Mark Miller as another victim of the floods.

Miller was found dead in a culvert on Target Road in Wairau Valley on Friday.

Another person was found dead after a landslide brought down a house on Remuera's Shore Rd.

RNZ understands the man was a beloved volunteer at MOTAT museum, Dave Lennard.

Earlier, a person had been found dead in a flooded car park on Link Drive, Wairau Valley at 12.30am on Saturday.

Police said all deaths had been referred to the coroner.

What the PM has to say

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told RNZ's Morning Report that Auckland has a big clean up job ahead of it but there is still much uncertainty given more heavy rain is forecast.

He said during his visit to Auckland on Saturday, when he surveyed the flooding damage, he saw firsthand the enormous challenge and hardship people were facing.

Hipkins would not be drawn on what he thought of Auckland mayor Wayne Brown's initial response to the emergency.

He said he wouldn't want to form a judgement on Brown's response in the first 24 hours of the emergency but that there would be an opportunity for a review.

He said the focus now had to be on the challenge Aucklanders were facing now.

Need help?

If you are unsafe, call 111.

To report flooding, damage to drains, or stormwater issues, Auckland Council wants people to report online here.

A helpline has been set up by Auckland Emergency Management for anyone who needs accommodation: 0800 22 22 00.

Those who need to evacuate and cannot stay with friends or whānau can go to a Civil Defence Centre:

  • West: St Leonards Road School, 15 Saint Leonards Road, Kelston
  • North: Massey University Albany Campus, Sir Neil Walters Lecture Theatre, Massey University East Precinct, Albany Expressway SH17
  • South: Mana Tukutuku, 32 Riverton Drive, Randwick Park

A pop-up community and agency information hub will be open at Moana Nui a Kiwa Pool and Leisure Centre 66R Mascot Avenue, Māngere, Auckland. It will be open 31 January from 8am - 8pm.

The Ministry of Social Development is also taking calls for welfare assistance on: 0800 400 100.

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