Whiritoa bears brunt of Coromandel flooding

Teresa Ramsey/STUFF.CO.NZ

Floodwaters at Totara, near the Kauaeranga River bridge leading into Thames.

A woman had to be rescued from her car after a flash flood which forced Coromandel residents from their homes on Wednesday.

The woman became trapped on the Manaia Stream Bridge after her car started filling with water about 8am. 

She made it out of the car and into the floodwaters before being rescued by local fire crews, a Fire Service spokesman said. 

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was dispatched to Thames Hospital to retrieve a woman in labour. Crew took this ...

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was dispatched to Thames Hospital to retrieve a woman in labour. Crew took this photo on the return journey.

Heavy rainfall, up to 45mm in total, left others trapped in their homes and has cut off some Coromandel towns entirely.  

Live: Slips, flooding, power outages in North 
Coromandel Peninsula cut off
Wild weather: What you need to know
Teen watches her room go under
School children evacuated from Hunua camp

Pauanui fire crews helped to rescue a family from their home on Hikuai Settlement Rd, in Duck Creek, Thames, just after 6am on Wednesday.

Motorists get turned back at a cordon between Waihi and Whangamata as contractors work to clear slips.

Motorists get turned back at a cordon between Waihi and Whangamata as contractors work to clear slips.

The house was flooded and water levels were at knee height, a Fire Service spokesman said.  

Several shops and homes were also flooded in Whangamata, and some occupants were evacuated with their belongings. 

Heavy floodwaters also caused a slip, taking out the corner of a home in Onemana, just north of Whangamata. 

Flooding along State Highway 25, just south of Thames.

Flooding along State Highway 25, just south of Thames.

Nearby Whangamata residents have been left with phone outages, limited petrol and wastewater issues after a deluge of rain continued to hammer the beachside town.

Ad Feedback


Flooding cut off access to the entire Coromandel Peninsula early on Wednesday morning after a night of downpours closed accessible roads. 

Shops and banks, including the Westpac and Kiwibank, are closed due to flooding after heavy rain overnight and into ...

Shops and banks, including the Westpac and Kiwibank, are closed due to flooding after heavy rain overnight and into Wednesday morning.

By 10am State Highway 25 from Kopu to Thames had reopened, allowing access through the western side of the peninsula. But in the south eastern ward hit hard by heavy rain Whangamata remained cut off. 

Some Whiritoa residents had been evacuated to the local surf club. 

"Information indicates Whiritoa has been badly affected, and are commencing evacuations to the local surf club. Multiple people stranded in vehicles due to slips. Access was attempted from either side with no result," Thames District Council reported. 

Flooding along State Highway 25, just south of Thames. Heavy rain overnight on March 7 caused flooding around Thames.

Flooding along State Highway 25, just south of Thames. Heavy rain overnight on March 7 caused flooding around Thames.

Heavy rain has caused flood damage to the fire station and properties throughout the township, which is isolated by slips on either side. 


Two major slips and six to eight minor slips on the road between Whangamata and Whiritoa had blocked access south. North of Whangamata flooding has closed the road at Opotuere. 

Flooding along State Highway 25, just south of Thames. Heavy rain overnight on March 7 caused flooding around Thames.

Flooding along State Highway 25, just south of Thames. Heavy rain overnight on March 7 caused flooding around Thames.

"At this stage we have quite a few slips come down and quite a lot of debris across the road," NZTA contractor Allen Scholtz said from Whiritoa. 

"We are working hard on the big ones now and if we get lucky we will get people through late afternoon, but at this stage anything else can still come down while the rain is here."

He hoped to move traffic through one lane by the mid-afternoon but warned if rain continued more slips were possible and the road would close again. 

Maramarahi Rd in Totara, near Thames, is closed due to flooding on Wednesday morning

Maramarahi Rd in Totara, near Thames, is closed due to flooding on Wednesday morning

Whiritoa Fire Brigade had to rescue one motorist whose car had been damaged by floodwaters. 

"There's people stuck in the Ramarama Hills because they can't go either road and there's people stuck in Golden Valley," a brigade spokesperson said. 

"We rescued a couple of people out of vehicles - one car has been quite badly damaged."

Maramarahi Rd in Totara, near Thames, is closed due to flooding on Wednesday morning

Maramarahi Rd in Totara, near Thames, is closed due to flooding on Wednesday morning

He said a few residents in the low lying village area had evacuated to the surf club following the low tide earlier and had since returned home. 

"But within the next three hours the tide is coming back in so we will be expecting the same thing again."

In Whangamata multiple businesses were flooded, the wastewater network was contaminated.

Coroglen saleyards were flooded by torrential rain on Wednesday morning.

Coroglen saleyards were flooded by torrential rain on Wednesday morning.


Residents in Whangamata, Tairua, Pauanui and Onemana are being asked not to flush unless essential as the wastewater network is under pressure. 

No fuel was available in Whangamata at 8.30am, according to Thames Coromandel District Council and phone lines are also down - both Spark and Vodafone are reporting outages in Whangamata and Whitianga.  

Three homes have been evacuated in the township. 

Two other houses in the nearby township of Onemana have been damaged by a slip. The residents have all been accounted for and relocated. The house is unstable due to flooding on SH25A, council reported. 

Most of the Coromandel Peninsula is cut off due to severe flooding along the eastern and western side near Thames.

Most of the Coromandel Peninsula is cut off due to severe flooding along the eastern and western side near Thames.

Two other houses in Tairua have been evacuated due to flooding and residents of six to 10 homes in Kaiaua have left their homes and are being looked after by friends and family. Sand bags are being dispatched for those residents at the local fire station. 

In Pauanui all road access is closed and the town is severely flooded, council said. Houses along Duck Creek at Hikuai have been flooded and the fire service is unable to get through due to excess water. 

At Maratoto Valley a group of college students at Maratoto camp are being relocated Paeroa War Memorial Hall. There are also reports of 20 campers at a DOC campground in Wentworth Valley.

Severe flooding has shut down SH25 from the Kopu Hikuai Rd north to Tairua.

Civil Defence centres are on standby to accommodate people needing assistance if required at the Whangamata Hall and the Pauanui Community Centre. 

"At the moment they are looking at whether they need to set those up if they need them," Thames Coromandel District Council communications manager Laurna White said. 

"The south eastern ward of the Coromandel is experiencing flooding, particularly Whangamata, Hikuai, Tairua and Pauanui and Opoutere.

"We are also getting reports of trees down around Opoutere and power outages around Whangamata."

"If you are in this area or thinking of travelling to or from these areas we are asking people to please stay off the roads."


Just before 6am, power was restored to 6064 customers in Whangamata after a slip caused by flooding cut supply to the main line supplying the town about 3.30am.

An estimated 600 homes remained without power in Whitianga, Coromandel and Whangamata areas at 11am. 

"Powerco field crews are working to get power restored to about 600 customers. Road closures due to flooding in the affected areas were hampering efforts for some crews to get to affected sites," Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh said.

"Field crews are trying to get to areas affected by power cuts and get your power back on as quickly and safely as possible," he said. 

Power to several hundred customers in affected areas has been restored as field crews have been able to gain access.

"Landslips following rain can bring down power poles and lines and power lines can kill. Keep yourself, children, pets or livestock well clear of downed power lines and treat all lines as live at all times. 

"If you see a downed power line, call emergency services on 111 immediately," Marsh said. 

Rubbish collection trucks are unable to get to Coromandel Town, Thames, Thames Coast and Manaia due to flooding so there are no rubbish collections.  

Refuse Transfer Stations at Whangamata and Pauanui are closed due to flooding as well.

Thames, Mercury Bay and Coromandel Town areas have been affected by flooding.

"There are power cuts around the Whangamata area and we are getting further reports of flooding around parts of Whitianga and the Kauaeranga Valley.

"We are asking people to please stay off the roads around the Southern Coromandel," White said.

At this stage no homes have been evacuated but White said Civil Defence is preparing for this in case it is needed. 

"We are reaching out to people through social media to let us know what they are experiencing so we can get contractors out on site."


A number of schools and businesses around the Coromandel are closed. 

One third of the shops in Thames township are closed after workers were unable to reach their workplaces on Wednesday morning. 

Flooding in Pollen St in Thames has closed Work and Income offices and the Westpac bank. 

Whangamata Area school, Waitakaruru School, Parawai School Thames, Thames South School, Matatoki School and Moanataiari School are all closed. 

None of the Thames High School or Whenuakite buses are running and buses from Mangatangi and Kaiaua have been cancelled. Waihi Goldfields vans running to Paeroa have also been cancelled.

No school buses are operating in parts of the Coromandel including Tairua, Pauanui, Thames and Hikuai, or for Opoutere school, Oreri Point School and Kawakawa Bay. 


Due to the heavy rain and ongoing bad weather, Waikato police are urging people to avoid any unnecessary travel around the Coromandel Peninsula.

Senior Sergeant Dean Anderson from Waikato District Command Centre said several main roads are already water-logged or flooded and the area is effectively cut off.  

"More rain is forecast for the rest of the day and high tide is still to come.

The situation is just going to get worse, he said. 

"Anyone who doesn't need to travel is asked to stay away. We're getting reports of people driving to see the flooding and getting caught out. It's not worth the risk."

A bus got into trouble travelling through Coroglen, cars in floodwaters had to be towed out and Coastguard had been called out to help troubled boats, Anderson said. 

"If you do need to travel, please be careful."

In the 24 hours to 8.15am Wednesday  Waikato Regional Council recorded 407mm of rainfall at it's Pinnacles measuring station in the Coromandel ranges midway between Thames and Tairua. 

Queens Head near Waihi recorded 103mm in the same period, while Mangatangi near Kaiaua recorded 194mm.

Waikato police Senior Sergeant Greg Foster said earlier a car has struck a downed tree on Maungatautari Rd, about 3kms south of Taane Road.

The tree is blocking both lanes, making the road impassable. There are no injuries to anyone in the car, he said. 

A large tree is down on Tairua Road, about 2km north of the Opoutere turn off.

"Contractors are struggling to get to this due to road flooding," Foster said. 

On State Highway 2 at Maramarua 30cm deep water is covering both lanes, causing road surface flooding, Foster said. 

In Tairua firefighters were called to pump water out of the backyard of a home before it encroached on the house, fire chief Chris New said. 

Water levels at the back of the property were about 600mm deep and close to going in the back door, he said. 

"There's plenty of water there - but the roads are closed so we can't go anywhere."


MetService issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato and Bay of Plenty just before 10pm on Tuesday. 

The warning was in place until 8am.

MetService expected very heavy rain to hit areas from Northland down to the Taranaki and the northern Bay of Plenty over Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

On Thursday, heavy rain is forecast to hit the north of the country again after mostly clearing out on Wednesday afternoon.

Road issues/closures

  • SH 25 Tairua To Sh25A is closed
  • State Highway 25 is closed south of Tairua. There is a detour in place to the north of Whitianga. It will add an hour one hour and twenty minutes to a journey.
  • State Highway 25 is closed north of Whangamata at Opoutere. No detour available.
  • State Highway 25 is closed near Whangamata. Detour is through Whangamata town.
  • Flooding on State Highway 25, near Hikuai Settlement Road. 
  • Tree down on Tairua Rd approximately 2km north of the Opoutere turn off. 
  • Flooding on State Highway 2, Maramarua 
  • Major slip on the Waihi Whangamata Road just north of Whiritoa.
  • Tree down on Maungatautari Road.
  • Road Is Closed Between Opoutere Rd And Liddle Rd
  • State Highway south of Coroglen Bridge is flooded.
  • Surface flooding on SH2 Mangatarata - both directions, SH25 Totara in Thames, Normanby Road Paeroa, Paeroa Kopu Road, Parry Palm Avenue Waihi.
  • Rising river levels from the Kauaeranga River near Thames means State Highway 25 south of the town is being closed off.

School closures

  • Whangamata Area school
  • Waitakaruru School closed today
  • Parawai School Thames
  • Thames South School 
  • Matatoki School Closed 
  • Moanataiari School closed 

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers

A day in the life of pop artist Theia

Singer-songwriter Em-Haley Walker, who performs as Theia, is a finalist in this year's Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards ...

Theia, is a finalist in this year's Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

More changes for Auckland flight paths

Certain conditions, including Auckland Airport reporting extra demand and consulting on noise, could see the flights per ...

Aircraft will permanently approach Auckland Airport using the controversial satellite-guided flight path trialed last year, a draft report says.

Kids hurt in hit-and-run

Police are seeking any information on two crashes that happened in south Auckland on Friday evening, one of which left ...

Two hit-and-run crashes - one after a police chase - have left four people injured in south Auckland.

Millions invested in maunga

The Maunga Authority is earmarked to spend $800,000 on improving Mt Wellington, or Maungarei, next year.

Campaign launched to make Auckland's volcanoes a UNESCO World Heritage site.


A life without letters

Hamish and Heather Shoebridge have worked together to help Hamish improve his reading and writing ability.

After 40 years of marriage, Hamish Shoebridge is finally able to write in his wife's birthday card.

Vaping fears evaporate

The Ministry of Health believes e-cigarettes have the potential to make a contribution to the Smokefree 2025 goal.

The Ministry of Health now supports vaping as a way to reach the Smokefree target.

Labour weekend weather video

Wellington weather will be a mixed bag this weekend.

In true spring fashion, the region's Labour Weekend weather will bring a bit of everything.

The accidental prime minister video

Jacinda Ardern's government is promising big.

OPINION: The Ardern-led Government got the nod. Now it must deliver - and Winston won't be able to avoid accountability.


Best meteor shower of 2017


Photos of meteors in the Orionid meter shower, as seen from Portabello, ...

Ancient pieces of cosmic dust will soon burn through the atmosphere - at a rate of 30 an hour.

A new rebuild for Chch

Incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled a suite of new policies for Christchurch under a Labour-led Government.

ANALYSIS: Change is coming to Christchurch. The rub will be in how much.

National 'dropped ball' on health

Jo Kane says she will be glad to see the back of National Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

CDHB member Jo Kane challenges Jacinda Ardern to mend board's "toxic relationship" with the Ministry of Health

Christchurch motorway open day

Drone images of the Western Belfast Bypass, which is set to open in November.

Walkers, runners and cyclists will be the first to travel on the Western Belfast Bypass.


Wheelie boys rile police

Hamilton has a new gang the H-Town Wheelie Boyz.

You can recognise them from the gang-like patch, and the fact they're doing wheelies in traffic.

Crash spot work eyed

The Gordonton and Thomas Road intersection was the site of 12 crashes in nine months.

Intersection at Gordonton and Thomas roads could get a roundabout or lights.

Anxiety, elation in PM's hometown

Kiwitahi farmer Paddy O'Shea and his 10 year old daughter Danielle. O'Shea was disappointed with Peters' decision to ...

The new government means good times ahead or off to hell in a hand-cart, depending on who you ask in Morrinsville.

Students abandon pets

The Waikato SPCA is expecting a lot more abandoned cats like Necky as students move away in November.

Students are dumping their pets as they head away from their study cities.


Fitzell brings up 50 years

Taranaki area commander Pat Fitzell has worn many hats in his 50 years with the fire service.

He's seen a few changes in his time but isn't about to hang up his boots just yet.

Brown baths be gone

Inglewood resident Larissa Linley and her daughter Ava Roberts, 9 months, have grown tired of the town's brown water issues.

This small town's funny-tasting, strange-smelling brown water is about to get cleaned up.

New Government divides region

Aaron Huston preferred a National-led Government.

There were cheers and tears at the news of a new Government.

Three MPs have no governing voice

Prime minister elect Jacinda Ardern arrives to Labour caucus to rapturous applause from her ministers.

Work hard and keep in the headlines, Taranaki MPs advised


Building her body

Jose Marshall has gone from learning how to walk again to competing at the bodybuilding nationals.

Jose Marshall was almost killed in a crash. Now, she's competing at the bodybuilding nationals.

Finally in Cabinet

Palmerston North Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says he's ready for the challenge of Cabinet.

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway will join Jacinda Ardern's Cabinet.

Lundy's key issues

Mark Lundy, pictured at his 2015 retrial, has twice been convicted of murdering his wife Christine and their 7-year-old ...

We break down the key points from Mark Lundy's Court of Appeal hearing.

Broadway's burgeoning tech hub

Beta Solutions chief executive Terry Southern said the former Farmers building offered a good space to recreate the ...

There's a hive of tech activity happening behind the walls of the former Farmers building.


Makos fans jet into enemy territory

Originair flight OG3313 Captain Warwick Wild shows his support for the Tasman Makos before a flight to New Plymouth today.

Look out Ferdinand - there'll be a few more fins up in the crowd at Yarrow Stadium this weekend.

Tale of two MPs

Nick Smith says National will be a formidable force in opposition.

The top of the south looks set to swap one cabinet minister for another.

Salisbury takes heart 

Salisbury School at Richmond is the only national single-sex residential school for girls with intellectual disabilities.

Could the long fight to save Salisbury School be over with the change of government?

Sanctuary given $150k

The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary says water testing shows no poison residue has been detected in water tests following the ...

The Brook Sanctuary has recieved $150,000 in funding from the NCC.


Building blocks for a happy family

Vanessa Hopkins is in charge of paperwork while Mathew, left, and Glenn drive heavy machinery to lay and smooth out the ...

Workers on the highway rebuild are like one big family. Especially these three, who are family.

The cats nobody wants

Manager, Kaycee Polkinghorne (pictured) said sending the cats to Wellington gave them a better chance of adoption.

Thirteen cats took an early morning flight to Wellington on Saturday hoping for a fresh start.

Doggie Gold Card with benefits

Winston Peters may leave a political legacy with pooches at Marlborough if a doggie Gold Card goes ahead.

Winston Peters may unwittingly leave a political legacy at Marlborough as councillors consider a Gold Card for dogs.

The long and winding dead end

The Acheron Rd, through Molesworth Station, is open again, but only from the Marlborough end.

It's a long, dusty through-road that doesn't go through anymore. The Molesworth road reopens ... kind of.

South Canterbury

It's coming down

Owner of the Hydro Grand, Allan Booth.

Timaru's Hydro Grand Hotel could be reduced to rubble by the end of November.

Disease 'contained'

22092017 News Photo: TOM LEE/STUFF - Dairy Cow, Farming, Fonterra, Cattle. Milking, Dawn Morning.

Ministry for Primary Industries confident Mycoplasma bovis is contained.

'Cautious optimism'

Federated Farmers South Canterbury chairman Mark Adams.

Hopes and fears have been raised by prominent South Canterbury figures now our new Government has been revealed.

Farewell to commissioner

Fairlie Primary School commissioner Terri Johnstone has said farewell to the school.

Fairlie Primary School is in a state of self-governence once more.


Boy seriously hurt in crash

A rescue helicopter lands at the crash site.

The long weekend is off to a bad start in the South Island, with a three-vehicle crash leaving a boy with serious injuries.

New plan to create affordable homes

Members of the Queenstown Lakes Mayoral Housing Affordability Taskforce presenting their recommendations: chairman John ...

Restrictions could be placed on Airbnb-type short-term rentals for visitors.

Joint approach trialed to freedom camping enforcement in the Catlins

Freedom camping will be more heavily monitored in the Catlins over summer, with a jointly-funded approach to be trialed ...

Otago-Southland authorities join forces to control freedom camping in the Catlins.

MP wants to get 'stuff done'

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said he will lobby for tourism levy and better transport system in Queenstown.

 "When an MP phones up departments they treat you a lot different than an average Joe Bloggs," Hamish Walker said.


Burnoff out of control

Helicopters from Southern Lakes and Te Anau Helicopters using monsoon buckets to fight a large grass fire at Mt Prospect ...

Fire crews are attending an out-of-control burnoff near Te Anau.

Fishing for all

Greg Sheppard, from Te Anau's, Trout Observatory releases a rainbow trout into McGregor's Pond near Te Anau, under the ...

Southerners are spoilt for choice this weekend in terms of things to do.

Southland fraudster sentenced

The Invercargill District Court.

A Southland fraudster who admitted 16 dishonesty charges has been sentenced to community detention.

A passion for the immortal Mustang

Wayne Fabish, of the Taranaki Mustang Club, spent four years building up his 67 Mustang, which he is showing for the ...

The 38th National Mustang Convention taking place in Invercargill this weekend.

Ad Feedback