Mid North still under water with infrastructure concerns

By Whatitiri Te Wake

Schools were closed today, farms turned to swamplands and some parts of Northland are still without power. Northlanders are reeling following the huge downpour seen across the region.

Locals say they are fed up and the underlying issue is that the region's infrastructure cannot cope.

Iwi leader Pita Tipene says the Bay of Islands was hit hard.

“Ka nui te waipuke ko tetere kē ngā awa, e puta atu ana ki Taumārere na reira e āwangawanga ana te iwi nā te nui o te wai”

“The floods are huge, swollen rivers flowing to Taumārere. The people were deeply concerned at the magnitude of the water,” he says.

Work is underway to clear the Lemon Hill slip just outside of Kawakawa after a reported 200ml of water fell. Tipene says this is yet another example of climate change.

Cleaning up the mess

“Kahore he kōrero i tua atu, kei te wera haere te ao. Mena he tangata i roto i tēnei ao e whakapono ana ki ēna kōrero, me tirohia te mātenga”

“There is no denying that the earth is warming. If there is someone who doesn't agree with that, they should check their heads”

Further south in Whangarei, this local farm is underwater. He says the water diversion programme is working to protect homes and towns but farmers are often left to clean up the mess.

“Just getting the water off the farmland is where the farmers would like to see some new technology,” he says

However, these are longstanding issues in a community that always bares the brunt of poor infrastructure.

“Ehara i te mea e tino hari ana ki ngā mahi a te kaunihera engari kua tino tahuri mai te kaunihera ki te kōrero ki ngā tino tāngata e noho ana ki te taha tonu o ngā.”

Support proffered

“We're not always happy with what the council do, despite them now engaging with those living closely to the riverbeds.”

Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty says he’s been in touch with all mayors of the affected area and is ready to support them, should those regions need it.

“We are not too sure of the wider impact yet. But they do know that if there is severe damage on farms or roads then there is support available. There is also support available if there are animal welfare issues.”

Defence Minister and Ngāti Hine native Peeni Henare says the Defence Force is on standby.

“Kua mea atu te Ope Kātua kia rite mai, mehemea ka karangahia mai a NEMA mā te Ope Kātua hei tautoko”

“I've told the NZ Defence Force to be ready. Should NEMA require assistance, the NZ Defence Force will support.”