TWM BAY OF PLENTY FLOODS - July, 2004

COMMENT:  Another warning to Pakeha government regarding its proposed Foreshore & Seabed legislation. If it obstructs Maori ownership of the F&S, it can expect TWM to engineer extensive and repeated flooding as a consequence. Pakeha will then have all the F&S they could want but not necessarily where they would like it.

FLOOD IMAGES Click here.

MORE FLOOD NEWS? Click here.

PREVIOUS ENGINEERED SEVERE STORM EVENTS:
1. Auckland Millennium Celebration, 2000
2. From "Cold Showers" to "Cold Snaps", 2003
3. Summer, 2003-04
4. The Big Flood, Feb 2004

UPDATE: FLOOD #3 is on the way. Where? A clue. One of the targets will be the electorate of a minor party leader who supports the proposed Foreshore & Seabed legislation. Seems logical. (30.07.04)

Floods close Bay of Plenty roads
TVNZ Jul 17, 2004
Heavy rainfall in the Bay of Plenty has caused flooding and slips, forcing the closure of some roads in the region.
State Highway 2 between Te Puke and Whakatane has been closed, along with the Wainui Road near Opotiki, and slips have also closed the Waimana Gorge. Police are advising people to stay indoors and off the roads unless it is an emergency. More heavy rain has been forecast for this afternoon. Community relations group manager, Bruce Fraser says flooding is worst in the eastern areas of the Bay of Plenty. He says the heavy rain has also seen the major rivers rise and council staff are keeping a close watch on them Lines of communication are being kept open with Civil Defence in case there is a need for evacuations, he added. 
Woman missing, presumed dead in Bay of Plenty floods 
NZ Herald 17.07.2004 8.00am 
A woman is missing presumed dead in a landslide caused by the rain in the settlement of Bryan’s Beach in the Bay of Plenty... The eastern Bay of Plenty was almost isolated from the rest of the North Island as heavy rain continued in the region... There were reports of states of emergency being declared or considered in some areas... So much rain has fallen that the giant Matahina dam cannot hold any more water and electricity officials have begun spilling it over. That will cause flooding in the lower Rangitaiki River... There is already extensive flooding on the adjoining plains with cars submerged and people unable to get through. Environment BOP has all its staff on duty and rivers are being sand-bagged in rural areas... MetService says the area can expect up to 140 millimetres of rain in some areas before midnight. 
Mini tornado and floods hit Bay of Plenty 
NZ Herald 17.07.2004 12.00pm 
The Western Bay of Plenty was hit by a mini-tornado, slips and power cuts as rain lashed the region overnight with warnings of more to come. In the worst single incident, a conservatory was ripped off a verandah at 3am when what police described as a "mini-tornado" hit a house in Oceanbeach Rd, Mount Maunganui... The heavy rain and rising river levels have prompted Environment Bay of Plenty to issue flood warnings... Rain also caused widespread surface flooding across roads, closed sports grounds and led to outdoor events like the Wellington race meeting at Trentham to be abandoned.
Woman believed buried in landslide
STUFF 18 July 2004
... Opotiki Mayor John Forbes announced a state of emergency at 5.30pm at Bryan's Beach, Ohiwa near Whakatane, and the Waiotahi area, west of Opotiki, as the region struggled to cope with flooding, landslides and treacherous winds... Forbes said numerous slips and power cuts had isolated Opotiki, a popular summer holiday destination. It was the worst he had seen in the area in at least 20 years... Environment Bay of Plenty community relations group manager Bruce Fraser said Eastern Bay of Plenty had received 200mm of rain since Thursday night. Whakatane had 130mm in the 24 hours to 7pm yesterday and Opotiki had 80mm in that period. The MetService predicted more heavy rain overnight... MetService severe weather forecaster Erick Brenstrum said the torrential rain was due to a strong northeast wind forcing warm moist air on to land, a situation which was rare in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Uplift over the hills caused the air to rise, expand and become colder, which made it rain.
Cabinet to consider relief package after floods leave two dead 
NZ Herald 19.07.2004 
The Cabinet will today consider a relief package for the Bay of Plenty region ravaged by what Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins called a "one in 100 years flood". He reported to Prime Minister Helen Clark last night on the extent of the damage, including the flooded towns of Edgecumbe and Whakatane, and will return to the region after this morning's Cabinet meeting. The floods were followed by a series of earthquakes and two people were killed... Stung by criticism it reacted too slowly to February's floods which struck the Manawatu and Rangitikei regions, the Government yesterday acted swiftly to ensure Mr Hawkins and local MPs were on the ground in the Bay of Plenty... The Manawatu floods package reached $130 million, but Mr Hawkins said the geographical area affected by the February storms was greater... 
Quakes add to flood misery in Edgecumbe
NZ Herald 19.07.2004
Shaky ground in Edgecumbe brought back nightmares for residents yesterday and came as a cruel second blow as they watched part of their town drown in water. For many, the tremors were a reminder of the earthquake that hit the small Bay of Plenty town in 1987... and causing $300m of damage... About 100 residents on the eastern side of the Rangitaiki River, which runs through the town, were evacuated in the early hours of yesterday morning... the floods in Edgecumbe were caused by the stock banks in Te Teko, further up the river, collapsing...
Rare weather pattern responsible for flood
NZ Herald 19.07.2004
The weather pattern that caused the weekend flooding in the Bay of Plenty was a one-in-10-year event, forecasters say.
The MetService had warned that the severe weather event could be more widespread with the potential to hit Auckland as well as the lower North Island areas still reeling from February's floods. Forecaster Andy Downs said a very slow-moving north-south front developed on Friday and stalled over Bay of Plenty after linking with a low which developed in the subtropics. That caused a large amount of rain in a fairly concentrated area, Mr Downs said yesterday. In 48 hours from Friday morning, Whakatane received 250mm of rain and Rotorua 150mm. What was unusual was that the rain was just as intense in the low-lying coastal areas as in the hills, which normally would expect rainfall levels 10 times higher... The concentration of the weather pattern was illustrated by the much lower rainfall levels over the same period in Tauranga (90mm) to the west and Hicks Bay (29mm) to the east...
Army moves in as Whakatane residents battered by nature 
NZ Herald 19.07.2004
It has been an unnerving 48 hours for Whakatane residents. Numerous earthquakes have shaken the Bay of Plenty town that still lives with the memory of the 1987 Edgecumbe quake. But it is the floods that have caused the most distress... The flooding began in the town on Saturday after days of inland rain finally took its toll. Initially it was the main shopping area that succumbed to the water and houses near the mouth of the Whakatane River.The central business area was evacuated as were a number of houses either at risk from rising the water or mudslides. Then morning bought the discovery that the suburb of Awatapu was also at risk. The lagoon that circles around the suburb had burst its banks, flooding hundreds of houses... 
Sodden picture of woe
NZ Herald 19.07.2004
From the air, the Bay of Plenty looked like a weird watery patchwork yesterday. Sodden towns and settlements, bloated rivers breaking their banks, paddocks awash, landslips galore - it was as heartbreaking as it was awesome. Mother Nature was having a field day, both in the horticultural Western Bay and the dairy country to the east. Across the Rangitaiki Plains the water kept spilling... Behind the extensive flooding was the mighty Matahina dam, putting on an impressive display as it spat out great volumes of water, spraying it into the air and spilling even more further down river. Scattered coastal settlements between Whakatane and Opotiki looked deserted...
Earthquake continues to rumble in BOP 
STUFF MONDAY, 19 JULY 2004
The swarm of earthquakes which rocked the Central North Island and contributed to the death of a woman near Tauranga on Sunday continued on Monday. More than 30 earthquakes - measuring up to 5.4 on the Richter scale - were centred about 20km northwest of Kawerau. The earthquakes were felt in Rotorua, Tauranga, Pukehina and the Eastern Bay of Plenty... Craig Miller, of Wairakei's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, said about a dozen of the earthquakes could be felt... Mr Miller said the earthquakes were not connected to the region's weather conditions... A civil defence spokeswoman said there were at least three more earthquakes on Monday morning... At least eight slips were reported to have blocked State Highway 30 between Lake Rotoehu and Manawahe in the wake of the earthquakes...
Quakes not sign of 'big one', say seismologists 
NZ Herald 20.07.2004
Seismologists believe the swarm of small earthquakes which added to the Bay of Plenty's misery is not a sign of "a big one" to come. Dr Warwick Smith of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences said earthquake swarms were common in the central North Island volcanic zone. Sunday's swarm was bigger than usual, with a maximum shake of 5.4 on the Richter scale at 4.22pm and another of magnitude 5 at 6.40pm. New Zealand usually gets only three or four shakes of 5.4 or bigger each year. The biggest quake was centred a few kilometres north of Lakes Rotoehu and Rotoma, on the edge of the large Okataina volcanic crater which contains the Rotorua lakes and last blew in the devastating Tarawera eruption of 1886... 
Flood's timing a cruel blow to farmers
NZ Herald 20.07.2004
Dairy farmers in the Bay of Plenty have been dealt a devastating blow by floods which will leave them short of feed during the critical calving season. Up to 500 farms are understood to have been affected by flooding, with about 50 facing severe damage... The timing was far worse than February's floods in the lower North Island, because at that time of year warm dry weather could be expected... Even farmers whose properties had not been flooded would be facing wet soil and struggling to feed stock... The Bay of Plenty accounts for about 11 per cent of Fonterra's annual production and flooding has been most severe across the key dairying country in the eastern Bay. Fonterra's Edgecumbe processing plant, closed for repairs and due to reopen on July 30, was damaged by the flood waters... The Bay of Plenty is also an important horticultural region, producing the bulk of the nation's kiwifruit and avocado crops...
Insurers braced for flood claims
NZ Herald 20.07.2004
Insurance companies are braced for tens of millions of dollars worth of claims from the Bay of Plenty floods.The Earthquake Commission is expecting up to 2000 claims, mostly from the swarm of earthquakes that hit the area on Sunday afternoon, but also from flood-driven landslides.Insurance Council chief executive Chris Ryan said... the cost of uninsured losses could be quite significant... In February's floods in the lower North Island, uninsured losses estimated at $200 million were nearly double the $112 million insurance claims...
Cost of floods expected to be in tens of millions
NZ Herald 20.07.2004
A state of emergency remained in force in the Eastern Bay of Plenty overnight as floodwaters receded to reveal the extent of the devastation.Although bathed in brilliant sunshine, thousands of hectares of farmland and hundreds of homes still lay under water from the region's worst floods in 50 years... During the deluge the eastern bay was also hit by more than 100 earthquakes, adding to landslips and other flood damage... Prime Minister Helen Clark and Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins surveyed the sodden districts from an Air Force helicopter yesterday... During the weekend, thousands of hectares of farmland already under water were hit again when huge volumes of water were spilled from the Matahina hydro-electricity dam... Helen Clark said she had been advised that 2000ha had been damaged, compared with several hundred thousand hectares covered by the lower North Island floods. New Zealand was coping with its second major flood in less than six months. "It tells us that our climate is becoming much more erratic," she said. "It is most unusual to get events of this scale within a few months of each other," she said.. 
COMMENT: Not that unusual. Helen has been warned that weather | environmental disasters would be engineered. If Pakeha government chooses to remain in denial, TWM will intensify its activities until there is a significant change in attitude. (20.07.04)
PM says NZ has to prepare for more frequent floods
NZ Herald 20.07.2004 1.00pm 
New Zealand has to prepare for more frequent and extreme floods says Prime Minister Helen Clark. A state of emergency remained in force in parts of the Bay of Plenty after two days of earthquakes and floods, which have claimed two lives, and caused damage expected to run into the "tens of millions"... Helen Clark last night said the disasters were not just a matter of coincidence. "All the predictions are that we are moving into an era of much more unpredictable and extreme weather and it may be that for the medium term our regional councils will have to look at their flood precautionary measures... "In the affected areas it is clearly as bad as that, but its covering a lot less territory than the Manawatu/Rangitikei/South Taranaki disaster, but certainly we have seen a great deal of flooding," she said...
Sodden Bay of Plenty spared threatened overnight rain
NZ Herald 21.07.2004
Threatened rain barely eventuated in the Bay of Plenty overnight to the relief of emergency services working to recover from devastating weekend flooding and earthquakes... Nevertheless, large areas of the Rangitaiki Plains -- west of Whakatane -- remained under water today. Earthquakes continue to hit the region, with a shake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale at 3.09am today. It was centred 30km northeast of Rotorua and 5km deep, but Mr Fraser said so far no reports of damage had been received as a result of the latest quake...
Flooded roads hold up efforts to plug breach
NZ Herald 21.07.2004
Flooded roads and muddy paddocks are hindering efforts to repair a 100m gap in a stopbank which is allowing huge quantities of river water to pour into the already saturated Rangitaiki Plains... It is estimated that more than half of the Rangitaiki Plains, which cover 27,000ha, is flooded...
Four days and still no respite from floods
NZ Herald 21.07.2004
As the state of emergency in the Eastern Bay of Plenty enters its fourth day, at least 500 people are still unable to return home. The flooded region was also coping with more overnight rain... Whakatane District Council spokeswoman Mary Hermanson said up to 10,000 people lived in the areas affected by the floods - the district's population is 34,000... It is estimated that up to 3000 dwellings have been affected by the flooding...
Weight of water set off quakes, suggests expert
 
NZ Herald 22.07.2004
The weight of floodwater in the eastern Bay of Plenty is believed to have triggered the swarm of earthquakes that have rocked the region.
Since Sunday the area has experienced hundreds of earthquakes. They began after more than 250mm of rain fell in 48 hours... Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences duty seismologist Martin Reyners said the weight of the floodwater - estimated at up to a billion tonnes - could have triggered the quakes... This type of activity is called induced seismicity... Dr Reyners said there had been hundreds of quakes, but most were too small to be felt by humans. "It is a significant earthquake sequence and we will definitely look at the relationship between the floods and earthquakes in more detail."...
Flood-affected farmers on verge of exhaustion
NZ Herald 22.07.2004
Some of the farmers worst affected by the Rangitaiki
Plains flooding are close to physical and mental exhaustion, New Zealand Dairy Farmers says. Catherine Bull, chairwoman of the organisation's Bay of Plenty branch, said the stress of the floods was taking its toll. "You can see that grey look in some of their faces," she said... On top of more than 250mm of rainfall...  the area was hit by a swarm of more than 200 earthquakes, which added to slips and other flood damage.
State of emergency to stay in force for weekend
NZ Herald 24.07.2004
A state of emergency will continue through the weekend after news that the flood-stricken Whakatane District is still unstable... The situation will be reviewed on Monday at 4pm, when it is hoped the region will be more settled... The flooding caused major damage to 47 main roads and 34 bridges, including those along several main state highways. Conservative estimates put the cost of clearing, cleaning and repairing those roads and bridges at $6 million...

BOP authorities rush to prepare for heavy rain
Stuff WEDNESDAY, 28 JULY 2004

Flooded Eastern Bay of Plenty was braced for forecast heavy rain on Wednesday.. The MetService was predicting up to 50mm of rain on the plains and up to 90mm in the ranges of the Eastern Bay of Plenty on Thursday and Friday. While the heaviest rain would be in Taranaki, Nelson and Buller, the northern and central North Island would also receive downpours from Wednesday night. Whakatane Civil Defence controller David Christison said the forecast had played a "very large part" in the decision to extend the state of emergency. He said the district was in a "very fragile" state, with the ground saturated and limited access to the outside world. "Effectively we only have one road into the district and that is at the epicentre of a swarm of earthquakes." A lot of areas were prone to landslides "and it's not going to take a lot to get them all mobile"...
Insurers warn they may not cover some areas
Stuff  WEDNESDAY, 28 JULY 2004
Insurance companies say they may refuse cover in flood-prone areas.
New Zealand Insurance Council chief executive Chris Ryan said companies could withdraw flood insurance cover from parts of Queenstown, Coromandel, Manawatu and Northland, such as the Queenstown lake front and low-lying land near rivers... AMI chief executive John Balmforth said the company was only covering and renewing policies for existing customers in flooded areas of the Bay of Plenty, and was not writing new business in those areas... No company would say whether having two North Island floods in one year would mean general insurance rates rises for everyone...
Whakatane state of emergency lifted
NZ Herald 30.07.2004 4.45pm
The civil defence emergency in Whakatane is officially over. It was lifted at 4pm today after being in force since heavy rain flooded the region on the night of July 17. Since the deluge two weeks ago, further rain has made the clean up more difficult and threatened repairs to roads, homes and river stopbanks... A total of 141 homes have so far been deemed uninhabitable until the are repaired and of those, 111 do not have contents insurance. Forty-six homes are affected by landslips and seven of those are off limits to residents. On the Rangitaiki Plain, about half of the surface was flooded. About 27,000ha was under water with about 17,000ha of that farmland. Severe silting in the Waiotahi area will mean about 4000ha of pasture will need re-grassing. Kiwifruit, berry and flower growers have also been hit by the flooding and about 15 orchards have been affected.

UPDATES:
July a month of weather extremes - Niwa
www.thepress.co.nz  MONDAY, 02 AUGUST 2004
July was a month of extremes, with flooding in Eastern Bay of Plenty and below average temperatures balanced by above average sunshine hours in the country's main centres. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) figures show that over 350mm of rain fell between July 15 and 18 resulting in severe flooding, slips and landslides, cuts to power supply and a state of emergency declared throughout the Rangitikei Plains in eastern Bay Of Plenty...
Rural bill $45m for flood damage
NZ Herald 04.08.2004
The cost of repairing flood damage in the rural part of Eastern Bay of Plenty alone is estimated at $45 million. On-going loss of production and income are included in the latest figures given to the Cabinet by the region's disaster recovery centre. Also cited are loss of grazing and feed supplements, livestock evacuation, damage to farm buildings, fencing, water supplies, access tracks and culverts, and disrupted milking and milk pick-up. Between 10,000 and 12,000ha of agricultural land was flooded when up to 450mm of rain fell over a 48-hour period on July 17 and 18... Of 450 farms affected - most on the Rangitaiki Plains - about 111 were expected to take months to recover and 186 would require re-grassing and significant pasture restoration,.. It was not known yet what effect the floodwaters would have on the kiwifruit, berry and market flower crops in the area. Some damage had occurred at 14 horticultural properties covering 30ha. Donna Young said forestry had also felt the impact, with the closure of State Highway 35...
Many months needed to repair Bay of Plenty flood damage
NZ Herald 10.09.2004
It will take many months to finish repairing stopbanks, canals and river protection works damaged by July's floods, according to regional council Environment Bay of Plenty. The council said in a statement today that repairs were being done quickly but nearly two months after the event, rivers and drainage staff were still tied up almost full-time with flood-related work on the Rangitaiki Plains, the Whakatane River and in the upper reaches of the Rangitaiki catchment. "It's a massive task," Bruce Crabbe, manager of rivers and drainage said. "We won't be back to normal for a long while yet."
Dioxin test homes contaminated by Whakatane floods
Wednesday, 6 October 2004, 11:04 am 
Green Party Press Release:
Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is calling for dioxin testing in Whakatane homes flooded in July with water that had passed through contaminated sites. In the House this afternoon Ms Fitzsimons asked Environment Minister Marion Hobbs how the Government was supporting efforts to identify and alleviate dioxin contamination spread by the floods... "There are at least 30 known sites in the district where dioxin-contaminated waste from the old Whakatane Board Mill was dumped, but none of them are on the Minister's clean-up list... "Ironically, until last year each annual statement of the Crown's financial position listed contaminated sites as an un-quantified contingent liability... However that item is gone from the latest set of accounts, instead being buried in a broad category of 'environmental risks'. Just because the Government has found a way of burying it will not make it go away," said Ms Fitzsimons.
COMMENT: An unexpected bonus. Floods highlight contamination that Pakeha govt tried to conceal.
Big quake and storm timing 'just bad luck'
NZ Herald 10.12.04
The double dose of flooding and earthquakes that hit the Bay of Plenty in July were not connected and their timing was just plain bad luck, a scientist says. Dr Tony Hurst of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences said the earthquakes were not a "swarm" as first thought, but a single big quake and a series of aftershocks. The big tremor on July 18 measured 5.4 on the Richter scale, making it the biggest earthquake in the whole Taupo volcanic zone, stretching from Mt Ruapehu to White Island, since the Edgecumbe quake of 1987... Dr Hurst told the NZ Geological Society's annual conference in Taupo this week that it was not triggered by volcanic activity either. The main fault line associated with the volcano runs east-west at Rotoehu, but the quake shook the land along a separate northeast-southwest fault.
Dr Hurst said the tremors could have been triggered by heavy rain if the level of the Rotorua lakes had risen enough to increase the pressure on the hot rocks underneath, which are unusually near the surface in the Taupo volcanic zone.

"But the lakes didn't rise rapidly enough, only a few centimetres," he said. "It seems to have been purely bad luck that the earthquake coincided with the storms."...
Bay farmers offered more flood help
NZ Herald
  08.02.05
Bay of Plenty farmers hit by floods last July and December will be able to get help, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton announced yesterday. Farmers had been entitled to assistance for damage caused in July's floods but now those who were also hit by the December floods could access the Agricultural Recovery Package. The deadline for submissions is extended until August 1. Enhanced Taskforce Green assistance would be extended until March from December.
Farmers can get grants of 75 per cent to restore uninsurable damaged property above a threshold of $5000 or 10 per cent of restoration costs - whichever is higher. Mr Sutton said ministers had accepted it was impossible to distinguish between damage caused by the two events and that subsequent damage was worse because of the initial floods.

BOP to get extra $7m flood relief
STUFF  WEDNESDAY, 06 JULY 2005
The Government is giving Bay of Plenty councils an extra $7 million to help the region recover from last year's floods. Prime Minister Helen Clark announced the latest funding today during a visit to the region. It brings the Government's flood relief aid to a total of $29 million. Miss Clark said the July 2004 floods caused widespread damage to rural and urban areas in eastern Bay of Plenty... She said the Cabinet was inviting Whakatane District Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council to jointly develop a business case for solutions to reduce community flood risk from the Whakatane and Rangitaiki Rivers. [...]


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