Sewage overflow, lack of clean water and marae affected - Northland floods aftermath

By Jessica Tyson

Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare says he’s looking at long term sustainable solutions to help Northland recover from flooding over the weekend.

Yesterday Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare visited one of the worst-hit flooded towns, Moerewa, and says the scale of the damage has been widespread across Northland.

He says Civil Defence has found significant damage at the Mangamuka Gorge, downtown Whangārei, Moerewa, Kawakawa and surrounding areas of the Taumarere River.

“They had reports of a number of technical issues; such as the ability to have clean water, and some of the sewage overflow matters across Tai Tokerau.

“I saw their despair and also saw the challenge for us to make sure that we can safeguard them into the future. We’re going to have to look into some more long- term, viable and sustainable opportunities.”

Northland floods / File

Henare says road and infrastructure assessments have been carried out by the New Zealand Transport Agency and local councils.

“We can expect updates on those pretty quickly in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

He says Northlanders who’ve had their property affected will be able to go to their local council for support.

“There are a number of whānau whose properties have been damaged during the storm and the floods and we expect that over the next week they’ll be coming forward through insurance, or through to the council to make sure that the damage has been recorded and see how we may be able to rectify it.”

Northland floods / File

Henare says some marae in Northland have opened to support whānau.

“I understand that there are offers from Whakapara Marae where it flooded particularly badly, for those who are stranded there to pop into the marae for shelter.”

However, there have been marae affected by the floods.

“A marae in Otiria, which is one of our main marae of Ngāpuhi, was almost inundated with water so yes, some put their hand up and are willing to help, others can’t because of the flooding.”

The flooding has also affected papakainga and farmlands.

“Topsoil has washed away or still continues to sit underwater. It was just too much water for the land to soak up properly. So pasture has been affected, and animal welfare has been checked into.”

Henare says as the water continues to recede over the next couple of days the full extent of the future challenges will appear.

Northland floods / File