Far North's Bell's Produce feeling impacts of wild weather

By Tumamao Harawira

Far North locals say their region has felt the full effects of climate change this winter, and believe the weather will only get worse and more unpredictable.

The Mangamuka Gorge has once again closed due to slips and a local vegetable and fruit grocer has felt the full force of Tāwhirimātea.

John Reid, who runs Bell's Produce in Kaitāia for Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa, the weather is still having an impact.

"We seem to be having more of these rain events when we should be planting.

Wild weather becoming more unpredictable.

"I've got quite a few plants ready to go out at the moment, which we haven't got the ground ready for, which is a bit of a problem and more rain was not really helping us at the moment."

About 1500 homes and businesses in the Far North lost power during last week's deluge, with Kaitāia cut off from the rest of the country, plus road closures all over the region.

Reid says, of even greater concern for the region is the closure of the Mangamuka Gorge, which only just recently reopened following its closure due to slips in 2020.

"The Mangamuka Gorge being closed is a major blow for us. We did it the summer before with Mangamuka closed - it is really, really hard work.

"We've had some losses with the last two floods. Just with potatoes having rotted, with it getting too wet on the ground with a lot of water damage, with things like roading and staffing, and then getting people to do work, those issues have really been a problem for us."