Power out, trees down in Wairarapa

CALEB HARRIS
Last updated 13:41 21/06/2013
Masterton tree

THE FALLEN: In Masterton, a tree pushed over by strong winds has fallen on to a Cameron Cr house, causing the residents to evacuate.

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High winds have brought down trees, telephone wires and a power pole in the Wairarapa this morning, and big seas and strong winds from Cook Strait are pushing up Lake Onoke's water level.

Powerco reports about 600 homes without power in Wairarapa. 

In Masterton, a tree pushed over by strong winds has fallen on to a house, causing the residents to evacuate.

Cameron Crescent resident Susan Rogers said she was at home watching the tree move in the wind. "I thought, that's coming down".

The tree then leaned right over onto the roof, partly pulling down a power line, and about half its roots were lifted from the ground.

Ms Rogers said she was going to her niece's house. "I don't want to be here if it does fall [right over]."

Masterton fire station officer Kevin Smith was in attendance and said the fire crew were waiting for the power company to attend and switch the current off so they could make the tree secure, or possibly remove it.

He said the tree had a "good solid root ball" and didn't like it would move further at the moment.

A large eucalypt was felled this morning by strong winds in Carterton, damaging a power pole and cutting power to a house.

Carterton fire chief Wayne Robinson said the tree took down the main line to the house at 183 Main St North and pulled an insulator and part of a cross beam off the power pole.

The power company had been called. Bernard Cleary, who owns the Matador Motel next door, said the owner asked him to check the house when his security company advised him power was out.

The motel still had power, he said. 

Pirinoa resident Maurice Tipoki said a power pole had snapped overnight at his house on Te Rata Road, south of Martinborough, and "flopped down" over his driveway.

Power was not cut at the time but now was as the power company attended to the damage. "I've got some lambs over there, I hope they don't get zapped," Mr Tipoki said.

He said the area behind his house looked like a "war zone", with a dozen big, old trees and fences "smashed".

"All night I was hearing 'thump, thump', I thought 'there goes another one'."

One narrowly missed one of Mr Tipoki's best heading dogs.

"She nearly died - the big trunk ended about eight foot from her kennel, with the branches all over it. I thought she'd be dead but I gave her a call and she pushed through the branches and I managed to grab her and take the chain off."

"I had a row of six big macrocarpa trees in one spot and only one is left standing. They'd be a hundred-plus years old. We've got a bit of firewood for next winter."

A tree falling on lines to a house on Pirinoa Rd south of Martinborough caught fire and caused sparks to crackle.

Farm worker Colin Jones discovered the fire.

"The tree squashed the power lines and there was a small fire crackling under it, about 2m high, with sparks and a hell of a lot of smoke," he said. "I certainly didn't want to go near it."

He thought part of the tree and maybe a power box on the line were burnt. Martinborough fire chief Garry Jackson said a fence under the fallen lines could be live so his crew would wait at the scene until the power company arrived.

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Three trees had blocked Whakatomotomo Rd and farmers were clearing them with chainsaws, he said.

Martinborough Fire Chief Garry Jackson, who attended the power pole incident at Pirinoa, said the scene was dramatic: "There are trees down everywhere, they're copping it ten times worse than what we are [in Martinborough]. They had a pretty rugged night."

Carterton fire chief Wayne Robinson said telephone lines came down across Brooklyn Road at about 8.45am, and appeared to have cut telephone to one house.

Firefighters secured the wires to a fence beside the road and were awaiting the telephone company. Mr Robinson said more calls were expected: "The wind's really starting to pick up now."

Lake Ferry Hotel worker Erina Kawai said Lake Onoke was "higher than normal", apparently due to high winds and a "huge sea".

"The sea is real big, the [lake] mouth's closed," she said.

Large waves were breaking over the bank and on the foreshore but causing no problems at this stage, she said.

Workers from Powerco contractors Tenix dig a hole to secure a guy line and pull a power pole back upright after high winds toppled it this morning on a rural road south of Greytown. Lines had fallen accross a paddock and power was cut but the workers did not know how many properties were affected.

 

- The Dominion Post

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