Wairarapa school, workers and trampers cut off as roads flooded, damaged
A family are unable to go home and workers got a day off as roads in south Wairarapa were flooded or damaged by heavy rains overnight.
The rural community of Tuturumuri near the coastal settlements of White Rock, Tora and Te Awaiti was cut off on Tuesday morning after flooding cut the only road out, just west of Tuturumuri School.
Cape Palliser Road on the way to Ngawi was down to one lane after a portion slipped into the sea, while Range Rd, also in the Tuturimuri area, was closed by a slip, the South Wairarapa District Council Facebook page said.
All Tuturumuri School pupils were able to attend as they all came from the east, school office administrator Ngahuia McNabb said.
But one family, trying to return home, was stuck on the Martinborough side of the flooded dip on White Rock Rd, she said.
The flooding happened once or twice each year but this was the first time this year, she said. "We thought we'd got away with it."
Heavy rain overnight in the nearby Aorangi Forest Park, with more expected tonight, had strained local waterways.
Several people on their way to work had turned back on reaching nearly a metre of floodwater.
One of them was Martinborough Winemaker Services office manager Janice Mills. It was not the first time a flood has blocked her daily one-hour drive from White Rock Station to work, but it was one of the deepest.
"It was deeper than I've seen it for a very long time."
With no cellphone reception in the isolated area, she borrowed the school's phone to let her work know, then headed home for the unexpected treat of a day off.
On Sunday, a 23-year-old student spent a wet, cold night in the bush below Jumbo Hut, west of Masterton, search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Tony Matheson said.
The student lost the track about 20 minutes from the hut during a Victoria University tramping club trip and hunkered down in a creek bed on Sunday night, before searchers in a helicopter spotted him early on Monday morning.
He did not need medical attention.
Another search was sparked on Sunday evening when two trampers visiting Tarn Ridge Hut, also west of Masterton, failed to emerge from the Tararua Forest Park when they had said they would.
But they emerged safe and well at another road end on Monday evening, having had to take a longer route when bad weather and deep snow made their planned route along the alpine tops impassable, Matheson said.