The day after the earthquake: Porirua wakes to slips, floods and traffic chaos

Porirua School principal Vanessa Hendry has had to close her school three times in the last two and a half years because ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Porirua School principal Vanessa Hendry has had to close her school three times in the last two and a half years because of flooding.

Porirua principal Vanessa Hendry cut a lonely figure as she stood vigil at her school to see if flood waters would breach the classrooms, again.

Watching the water rise on Tuesday morning was something she was used to, she said.

"It's the third time in two-and-a-half years it's happened but this isn't as bad as the previous two times."

A slip at Paremata, Porirua on Tuesday morning.
VIRGINIA FALLON/FAIRFAXNZ

A slip at Paremata, Porirua on Tuesday morning.

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In May, Hendry and fellow staff members piggy-backed children through flood water to waiting parents.

Time the school was empty - the pupils had been told to stay home - and the water did not enter the classrooms.

The state of the Plimmerton roundabout during Tuesday's wild weather.
VIRGINIA FALLON/FAIRFAXNZ

The state of the Plimmerton roundabout during Tuesday's wild weather.

"After experiencing the earthquake, a lot of them were tired and upset. I didn't want to put them though evacuating the school again."

Porirua was walloped on Monday and Tuesday when the Wellington region was hit with more than 100mm of rain in some parts in a few short hours.

Commuter chaos started early in Tuesday morning as slips in Paremata and a flooded Plimmerton roundabout slowed, and eventually stopped, traffic.

Cars try to navigate the Plimmerton  roundabout during wild weather.
VIRGINIA FALLON/FAIRFAX NZ

Cars try to navigate the Plimmerton roundabout during wild weather.

Roads were closed as further slips and flooding in Tawa, Plimmerton and opposite Whenua Tapu Cemetery on State Highway 1 threatened houses and made driving dangerous.

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Trains were cancelled, schools and businesses were closed and Porirua Stream burst its banks, requiring sandbags to be deployed across the region.

Commuters were told to stay in Porirua and Wellington until at least 8pm when contractors hoped to clear slips.

Bothamley Park creek in Porirua also burst.
VIRGINIA FALLON/FAIRFAXNZ

Bothamley Park creek in Porirua also burst.

Porirua City Council general manager of policy, planning and regulatory services James Jefferson said there was not as much rain as there had been during previous storms.

But a king tide and a number of slips hampered efforts to keep roads cleared, he said.

Wellington Water did well in Raiha St, considering the torrent of water along a notorious flooding area was like "Niagara Falls".

Chaos at the Plimmerton roundabout during the wild weather.
VIRGINIA FALLON/FAIRFAXNZ

Chaos at the Plimmerton roundabout during the wild weather.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said a review would be carried out next year on the flooding response as part of the council's long term planning. 

He was glad Porirua got off relatively unscathed from the flooding.

"With the earthquake and then this weather, it was a testing time," Tana said.

Porirua School was under water on Tuesday morning but the water hadn't reached the classrooms.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Porirua School was under water on Tuesday morning but the water hadn't reached the classrooms.

"It was a learning exercise for me and I tried to add value where I could."

 - Stuff

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