East Coast doing it tough as multiple households cut-off

9:04 pm on 26 June 2023
Mangahauini Gorge - single use only

An aerial view of the Mangahauini Gorge, where slips are causing concern for Civil Defence and residents alike. Photo: Supplied / Chorus / Rhys Hopkins

Civil Defence in Tokomaru Bay has expressed concern for around 40 families in surrounding areas who have been cut-off over the weekend due to flooding and slips.

Inland Tokomaru Bay has been slammed in the past week, with Gisborne District Council saying 494mm of rain was recorded at Fernside Station during that time period.

Te Akau o Tokomaru Civil Defence and hapū lead Lillian Te Hau-Ward said people were isolated at Fernside, Mata, Tuakau and Ihungia with no way in or out.

"We have a lot of isolated whānau inland. A lot of them are asking when crews will be on that road to start clearing it," Te Hau-Ward said.

Lillian Ward

Te Akau o Tokomaru Civil Defence and hapū lead Lillian Te Hau-Ward is concerned for families who are cut off due to the flooding. Photo: Gisborne Herald / Rebecca Grunwell

Meanwhile, questions were also being asked about a large slip in the Mangahauini Gorge which had moved over the weekend.

The slip made headlines back in March when it formed a large lake, containing an estimated 400,000 cubic metres of water, silt and trees.

A slow release of the dam alleviated risk three months ago, but heavy rain over the past week was again creating issues.

The Mangahauini slip - single use only

The Mangahauini slip is located just outside of Tokomaru Bay, and is still moving, according to residents. Photo: Supplied / Lillian Te Hau-Ward

Te Hau-Ward said she had not received a clear answer from Gisborne District Council on who was monitoring the slip, and at what frequency.

"We've been posing the question the past two weeks ... and don't have a definitive answer.

"If the slip dams the Mangahauini River again, how will locals know?"

Up the road in Ruatoria, Radio Ngāti Porou's Paora Brooking said the rain had been consistent over the weekend, creating phone and internet issues.

He felt for people who were doing it tough outside of the main township, and said the weather events continued to impact people's mental health.

"We're going to need more than a few days to dry this place out. You walk on the lawns and you're sinking.

"Everybody's feeling it, they're over it."

According to the council, 565mm of rain was recorded at Raparapaririki, inland from Ruatoria.

Brooking said some had self-evacuated over the weekend, and farmers were continuing to feel the impact.

"Hopefully the resilience of our people is enough to get us through this, and hopefully we'll see brighter days."

A state of emergency in Tai Rāwhiti was lifted on Sunday, three days after Mayor Rehette Stoltz put it in place.

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