Northland battered by severe weather, Kaitāia cut off

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

The severe storms causing chaos in the South Island have now hit  Northland, with flooding cutting off Kaitāia from the rest of the country, and no possible detour in place.

Andrea Panther from Kaitāia Business Association said this had caused huge disruption for businesses in the area, with specialist doctors cancelling appointments, staff not being able to get to work and shipments unable to pass through.

The Far North District Council is urging people to reduce wastewater flows by flushing less often, taking shorter showers and delaying washing.

More than 800 homes and businesses in the Far North are without power due to the poor weather, and power cuts are being reported also in Kāeo, Oruru and Awarua.

​​​​State Highway One at Kauri is down to one lane after a logging truck crash with southbound traffic being diverted through to Saleyards Road.

Residents in Northland should be on the lookout for flooding and slips following more than 100mm of rain overnight,  MetService said.

Due to flooding, two bridges have also been closed: one on State Highway 1 at Rangiahua and the other on State Highway 10 at Kāeo River.

Flooding, slips and fallen trees have impacted 20 district roads, closing off nine. The remainder have been reduced to one lane or are passable with caution being advised to motorists. 

A number of Far North schools closed, including Opononi Area School in the Hokianga, Bay of Islands College in Kawakawa and Oromahoe School near Kerikeri.

Kerikeri is the worst to be affected by the bad weather, recording more than 155mm in the past 24 hours till 1pm today.

Kawakawa's fields behind the township are a familiar sight, looking much like the July 2020 floods, seeing the paddocks submerged in rainwater again today. 

Behind the Star Hotel and Te Hononga Hundertwasser Memorial Park in Kawakawa. Image credits: Diane Wikaire.

Northland is currently at the orange rain and wind level warning. The regional forecast for the weekend says heavy rain is expected to continue tomorrow, with the rain easing on Saturday and clear skies on Sunday.