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 ...
WAIKATO WESTPAC RESCUE HELICOPTER

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.  

READ MORE: 
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.
DOMINICO ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

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.
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

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

COROMANDEL COMPLETELY CUT OFF

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 ...
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

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.
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

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. 

'QUITE A LOT OF DEBRIS'

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.
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

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
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

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
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

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.
FRANK DYER

Coroglen saleyards were flooded by torrential rain on Wednesday morning.

RESIDENTS EVACUATED

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.
NZTA

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."

POWER RESTORED TO 6000 HOMES

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."

SCHOOLS, SHOPS CLOSED

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. 

'IT'S GOING TO GET WORSE'

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."

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS

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
Auckland

Ardern fixes English's fallen sign

Jacinda Ardern put up her own, then fixed Bill English's.

When National's billboard fell during her unveiling, the Labour leader decided to play nice.

Masked men come forward

Video showed men masked and dressed in Mr Four Square costumes apparently attacking two teens on a train from Auckland's ...

The mother of one allegedly assaulted teen girl wants police to prosecute.

Auckland Zoo farewells tiger

Jaka, one of Auckland Zoo's three Sumatran tigers, was put down on Friday at age 17.

Zoo vets found an inoperable tumour in Jaka's intestines, which had spread to other parts of his body.

Woman died alone

A Police spokesperson said the woman had likely been dead for some time.

She lay undiscovered in a community based provider's complex for some time after her death.

Wellington

Electric car runs on $10 a week video

Nathan Murrell says his Nissan Leaf is "dirt cheap" to run, and loves Wellington's hills.

Owner sings praises as electric vehicle numbers in Wellington double in a year.

Council ticket fiasco

A contractor to Wellington Water, which is partially owned by the Wellington City Council, was given a $60 infringement ...

Traffic control trailer gets $60 ticket - while working on Wellington council project.

Delays ease on Kapiti Coast

Traffic at the Plimmerton roundabout on State Highway 1 about 5.30pm. NZTA is warning of 40-minute delays in the area.

Weekend congestion finally over, after delays of up to 40 minutes earlier in evening.

National Standards slip

National Standards results have remained mostly static over the past three years, ministry figures show.

Figures show National Standards results aren't improving, despite Government targets.

Canterbury

Ballantynes' rebuild details

18082017 news supplied
Supplied pics of Ballantynes Lichfield st rebuild. Embargoed still saturday 19 aug 2017.

 Ballantynes has released details and pictures of its planned rebuild of part of its central Christchurch department store.

Couple left in cold video

John and Bona Sinclair have been trying to resolve suspension of John's pension payments leaving them $55 a week to live ...

Christchurch man who married US woman "disgusted" as his pension is slashed from $375 to $80 a week.

Experiment backfires

A source close to the school says parents are "ropeable" about what has happened.

Social media experiment designed to teach teens about cyber safety backfires on private girls' school.

Van rolls down bank

Ten people were in a van that rolled down a bank in North Canterbury. Five of them were injured. (File photo)

Five people, including several children, were injured when a van rolled down a bank.

Waikato

Maitland's Top 5 steams ahead

The Steamfest is on this weekend in Otorohanga (file photo).

A little something for the weekend?  Cats, the circus and Koroneihana. This is your Top 5.

Bodies identified

James David Fleet, 25, (pictured) and his uncle Raymond Joseph Fleet, 51, were last seen by their families on August 7.

Police confirm bodies found in Mamaku Forest are Raymond and James Fleet.

'Die,' screamed arsonist

Shiva Lachman Anand poured petrol of his former partner as she held their baby and then set them alight.

A man poured petrol on his former partner and set her alight while she was holding their baby.

$25 tip jar thief jailed

There was $25.30 in the tip jar in the Quadrant Bar in Hamilton, that was swiped by Stephen Rangitawa Te Whatu (file photo).

Judge gives Stephen Whatu a year and a half in jail reflect on his "miserable offending".

Taranaki

Slurry of mining applications in pipeline

Patea resident Hemi Ngarewa is hugged by his daughter Debbie Ngarewa-Packer after the decision to allow seabed mining in ...

Sea bed mining activists say more mining planned after South Taranaki application set precedent.

Unlikely to give up

Rollie Heke

She was his partner for eight years and fears Rollie Heke won't make it easy for the cops to catch him.

A Mt Messenger history

The section of windy, crash and slip prone State Highway 3 over Mt Messenger is due to be bypassed.

Taranaki's Mt Messenger road lives up to its challenging and isolating setting.

Giving peace a chance

John and Yoko had the right idea - let's give peace a chance.

OPINION: After four years of claim and counterclaim at Witt we need to turn the page.

Manawatu

Adapting to life after a crash video

Lani Rongokea, 7, is running free again - but is very wary of crossing the road.

Lani was just 6 when she was hit by a truck and now she's adapting to life and looking both ways.

Water a hot topic

Labour Party candidate Rob McCann, left, brought a cardboard cutout of Jacinda Ardern on stage. Seated behind is Nathan ...

Warm homes also key issue for voters as candidates front up in Horowhenua.

Mother hoping for son's return video

Police dive squad have joined the sixth day of the search for two men missing in Tongariro National Park.

Dive squad called in as search for missing men enters its fifth day.

Pledge against violence

Turbos Kurt Baker, left, and Nick Crosswell train before Sunday's game.

Women take to the rugby field as the Turbos take an anti-violence stand.

Nelson

Bennett in back-up role at Vuelta

George Bennett became the first Kiwi to achieve a top 10 finish on a Grand Tour when he placed 10th at the Vuelta last year.

Nelson cyclist given support role for Vuelta a Espana after illness hampers preparations.

Richmond on the rise

Andrew Spittal says he expects the first stage of The Meadows residential development will have either 66 or 80 sections.

A whole new community will spring up in Richmond, with more than 1000 homes and a new school.

Canterbury too good for Tasman

Fullback George Bridge scored the first of Canterbury's tries against Tasman.

Tasman are outclassed in their first NPC game of the season at Nelson's Trafalgar Park.

'Baby step' for bypass

Woolshed Corner on SH60 north of Motueka. River Rd is to the left and has been floated as a possible joining point of a ...

It might take some time, but plans for a heavy-vehicle bypass in Motueka are under way.

Marlborough

Man named after logging death

The fatal accident happened near Blowhard Ridge in the Wairau Valley, about 40 kilometres west of Blenheim.

The Marlborough man who died in a logging accident has been named by police.

Family wins $1 million

The winning ticket for Wednesday's draw netted a Blenheim family syndicate $1 million.

Playing the same lottery numbers week in, week out for 30 years finally pays off for family syndicate.

'Zero room for error'

The Spring Creek roundabout has taken shape this week, with traffic taking to the $4.3 million intersection.

Tight turn sends truckies around the bend on multimillion-dollar roundabout.

Fire at grapeworkers' house

Seddon Volunteer Fire Brigade responded to the fire about 10pm on Thursday.

Seasonal workers run back into their burning home to retrieve passports and luggage.

South Canterbury

Timaru man eyeing Tai Chi gold video

David Thew will be attending the World Kung Fu Championships in China this November.

A Timaru man has his eye on bringing home his third gold medal when he competes at the World Kung Fu Championships in China.

Hospital services key 

Timaru Hospital.

Services key to Timaru Hospital rebuild, observers and sector groups say.

480 pieces of plan feedback

People were given the opportunity to comment on the Timaru District Council's future spending commitments, what kind of ...

Instead of formal submissions to Timaru's long-term plan, residents were invited to answer an online survey entitled "Our Place, Our Future?"

Flava Festival attracts hundreds video

Pupils from Highfield School perform at Flava Festival, held at the Theatre Royal on Friday.

Hundreds of South & Mid Canterbury kids take to the stage for Flava Festival.

Southland

Robotic seal helping dementia patients

Enliven Southland quality of life co-ordinator Shannon Tokona and nurse Julie Worner with Paro the robotic seal, who is ...

Meet Paro, the robotic seal helping elderly dementia patients.

Teen murder accused can be named

Name suppression has been lifted for teen accused of murder in Invercargill.

An Invercargill teenager accused of murder can now be named.

Bottled water improvisation

Invercargill woman Christine Brown, with husband Lee, before her face reconstruction at Dunedin Hospital on Tuesday.

Surgeons reconstructing Christine Brown's face were thrown curveball when operating theatre's water was contaminated.

Railway heritage value questioned

The Wairio Terminus.

 Western Southland locals are urging officials to take steps to preserve a newly designated heritage railway site in the district.

Ad Feedback