|COMMENT: Deja vu? In less than a year the province has again been devastated by surplus rainfall. More records created, including "The perfect disaster".|
|FLOOD IMAGES Click here.|
FLOODS Oct, 2005 Click here.
| Bay counts the cost of
storms and tornado
NZ Herald 28.03.05
The Bay of Plenty is still counting the cost of damage from Friday's thunderstorms and a tornado that ripped up trees and tore down powerlines. The deluge caused widespread floods and cut power to thousands of residents and businesses, creating a huge workload for emergency services and utility companies. About 40 homes were still without power yesterday morning. The Good Friday tornado that started in Kawerau just before 11am left a trail of fallen trees and tangled powerlines before finally hitting Te Puke and exhausting itself... Power supply to about 3500 consumers in and around Te Puke was interrupted. About 500 homes, mainly in Te Puke and in the nearby areas of Maketu, Ohinepanea, Otamarakau Valley, Paengaroa, Pongakawa and Pukehina, were still without electricity on Saturday morning... As the massive thunder and lightning storm rolled across the Bay, many homes reported lightning strikes. [...]
State of emergency in Tauranga
NZ Herald May 18, 2005
Slips cause houses to collapse
Civil Defence is on standby in Tauranga after massive slips caused houses to collapse. A number of others are on the verge of collapse. Police say houses in Shelley Street, Landscape Road, Vale Street and Whittaker Street are badly affected. Parts of Otumoetai are being evacuated and there are reports of numerous vehicles stranded in Welcome Bay. In some areas, slips have covered railway lines and disrupted rail traffic. Police, Fire, Army and other emergency services are being stretched to the limit due to the heavy rain and flooding... At least 20 homes were flooded in Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula on Tuesday. [...]
Owner flees as bank collapses
STUFF THURSDAY, 19 MAY 2005
A man fled his home just before a water-logged bank shoved it forward several metres as slips caused by record rainfall destroyed five houses in Tauranga yesterday. A state of civil emergency was declared after 230 millimetres of rain caused havoc in Tauranga yesterday. Along with the destroyed houses, 63 mainly elderly residents were evacuated from the Otumoetai area. Schools and roads are closed and more rain is expected today... It is the fourth time in five years the area has been hit by severe flooding. Yesterday's downpour caused widespread damage to homes at Pillans Point, Otumoetai, Welcome Bay and Mt Maunganui. Many houses were teetering on hillsides and residents had to bunk down with family or go to motels... Tauranga Hospital had to close operating theatres temporarily in the morning. Floodwaters damaged roads and railway lines near Mt Maunganui and Welcome Bay... Matata farmer Bruce Shearer said about 50 metres of the Hauone road and rail bridge had disappeared, trapping residents in the area."We have not had floods this bad since 1964."... Many residents hit overnight had only just finished cleaning from a flood two weeks ago. [...]
Rescuers’ relentless fight against deluge
NZ Herald 19.05.05
In 22 years Mount Maunganui fire officer Keith Silvester has never seen his town flood to the extent of yesterday. He and his colleagues worked all morning without a break, unblocking drains and pumping water from flooded homes and businesses as fast as they could... Six volunteers helped clean up sodden carpets at the Good Opportunity Shop in the shopping area on Maunganui Rd while staff at Bayfair Shopping Mall, at the other end of the main road, were also mopping up the last of a mess left when a stormwater drain burst at 1am... On Portside Drive, in the town’s industrial area, stranded truckies anxious to get on their way risked driving through a section of the road closed because it was waist-deep in water. Getting out of town was no easy task for anyone after the harbour bridge connecting Mount Maunganui with Tauranga was closed because of flooding on either side. Motorists were left with no choice but to take the alternative route across the harbour at the opposite end of town. [...]
Heartbreak as landslide reduces new home to pile of rubble
NZ Herald 19.05.05 Grant and Robyn Williams left town for only a few hours yesterday, but by the time they returned their six-month-old home in Tauranga's Welcome Bay was a pile of rubble. The house, in a new hilltop subdivision with views of Tauranga Harbour, was hit from behind by a powerful landslide. The earth smashed through the back of the house, destroying bedrooms and ramming their contents into the front rooms, which were piled floor-to-ceiling with debris. Mrs Williams said she, her husband and three young daughters were devastated... She has Wednesdays off work and usually spends the day at the house, but yesterday she and her husband decided to go to Matamata to paint a rental property they own... But what the couple saw when they returned was no joke. The back of the house was flattened. Mrs Williams' car, which was in the garage at the front, had been propelled into the garage door with such force that the door had buckled and the car was protruding outside. "Just the actual force of what can happen shocks you," she said. [...]
Families flee wall of water from the hills
NZ Herald 19.05.05
A river of water swept through the Bay of Plenty town of Matata last night, forcing dozens of people to flee their homes. Tania Raynes was in her Pakeha St home with her daughters Billie, 11, and Ashlee, 16. "One minute we were okay. There was heavy rain and a little bit of flooding. Then this white-water river just came through from the hills." It knocked over Dad and my husband and he was struggling to stay up." The family had to flee their house and didn't have any chance to grab any possessions... Last night they were among the 83 Matata residents taking shelter in the Whakatane War Memorial Hall. They arrived in four buses and were supplied with mattresses and bedding... The deputy mayor of Whakatane, Graham Hanlen, said he had heard of one house sliding down a hill while the occupants rode on the roof. [...]
Hundreds of people evacuated as more downpours forecast
NZ Herald 19.05.05
"A white station wagon with its interior lights still on is floating out at sea." Carmel Murphy, whose parents own Murphy's Holiday Camp 3km from Matata in flood-hit Bay of Plenty, said last night she was heading to the camp when her path was blocked by metre-deep water. "I saw a couple of caravans and a house going by. Huge boulders were rolling across the road." Hundreds of people were evacuated and states of emergency declared in parts of the province after 24 hours of torrential rain caused widespread flooding... MetService weather ambassador Bob McDavitt said the rain was because of a low-pressure system that was sitting over the region and the Tasman Sea. "The moisture from a northerly flow from the Tropics is converging with the low-pressure system, causing it to rain." A high-pressure system to the south of the country was blocking the low from moving.
More rain for flood-ravaged BOP
STUFF THURSDAY, 19 MAY 2005
Despite a brief respite more rain is forecast to hit the flood-ravaged Bay of Plenty today, as residents and emergency services struggle to deal with the aftermath of yesterday's destructive deluge. A state of emergency was declared in parts of the region yesterday afternoon after flooding destroyed houses in Tauranga, swamped farms and forced hundreds to be evacuated from their homes. Emergency services were stretched as a deluge of rain brought chaos to the region. This morning the rain had stopped – though more is forecast – but more than 20 schools are closed and hundreds of people remain out of their homes... Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby told National Radio water supply was an issue... Mr Crosby said in the past 36 hours about 400mm of rain had fallen, about a third of the year's natural rainfall... Whakatane Civil Defence spokeswoman Mary Hermanson said 144 people were evacuated from the township last night and taken by bus to Whakatane War Memorial Hall... Whakatane had suffered some surface flooding. [...]
More evacuations in flood ravaged Bay of Plenty
NZ Herald 19.05.05
As evacuations continue in flood-ravaged Bay of Plenty, others are beginning to count the cost of the devastation, expected to be tens of millions of dollars. Civil defence emergencies were declared in parts of the region yesterday afternoon after flooding and slips destroyed houses in Tauranga and Matata, closed roads and schools, and forced hundreds to be evacuated from t heir homes. The army was this morning evacuating a motor camp in Papamoa, 19km south-east of Tauranga, with up to 100 residents affected, Western Bay of Plenty District Council spokesman Peter Hennessy said in a statement... Mr Hennessy said four slips around the base of Mount Maunganui had closed the walking track and broken a major water main... Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins arrived in Tauranga this morning and was briefed by emergency management staff, Mr Hennessy said...
Meanwhile, the Insurance Council is estimating the cost of the flood damage to reach tens of millions of dollars. Council chief executive Chris Ryan said hundreds of claims had already been received and insurers had sent large teams of claims assessors to the affected areas... The Tauranga floods were likely to be the most significant flood event so far this year, he said. Last year the insurance industry paid out claims worth over $1.3 billion. About $145 million of that was in just two flood-related claims -- the February floods in Manawatu and the Whakatane floods some months later. [...]
My home floated down the street'
NZ Herald 20.05.05
Michele Beard's Matata home used to be at 18a Clem Elliot Drive "but it's now at number 16". She was cooking the evening meal on Wednesday when she looked out of the kitchen window and saw a torrent of water heading towards the house.
It came after hours of torrential rain in the Bay of Plenty led to states of emergency being declared in Tauranga and Matata and left 300 people temporarily homeless. In Matata, 14 vehicles were swept into the lagoon. Streams became torrents, huge boulders, logs and debris were swept through to the western end of Murphy's Holiday Camp, eight or nine caravans from the camping ground were washed out to sea, houses were pushed off foundations, garages were wrecked and cars were buried... Still the rain lashed down, hampering emergency services and clean-up crews trying to begin repairing devastation caused by a flood that roared down from the hills on Wednesday night spewing boulders into backyards - but remarkably not claiming any lives... Some residents likened the force of the water to the Boxing Day tsunami.
'Complex' low caused deluge of rain
NZ Herald 20.05.05
A massive "low pressure generator" covering the entire northern Tasman Sea and stretching as far as New Caledonia was responsible for the drenching delivered to parts of New Zealand this week. This weather system, detected by weather balloons but which doesn't appear on weather maps, was high in the upper atmosphere and is also known as an "upper trough", said MetService forecaster Bob McDavitt. Its "progeny" are the series of low-pressure systems that have moved over New Zealand in the past few days, one a "complex" low-pressure system that brought flooding to parts of the Coromandel Peninsula before it turning to the Bay of Plenty. It is called a "complex" low not only because of the thunderstorms and rain bands within it, but also because forecasters find it difficult to predict its ferocity. It had been sitting in the Tasman Sea to the north of the country since last Friday, and was stuck in place because of a high-pressure system over southern New Zealand bumping against it. The longer it sat, the more moisture it sucked up and the more troughs and thunderstorms it produced. By early Wednesday morning, rain bands and a line of thunderstorms from the low were moving south down the eastern coast of the North Island past Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf to the Bay of Plenty, drenching Tauranga with 309mm in the 24 hours to 4pm Wednesday. Mr McDavitt said the deluge was "unprecedented" for Tauranga airport's rain gauge. [...]
Matata Maori claims ancestors were angry
NZ Herald 21.05.05
... Prime Minister Helen Clark choppered into Matata to see the damage. A small gathering welcomed her and she walked up Clem Elliot Drive, giving one woman a hug. "It's an absolutely horrific site," she said. "It's the sort of thing we saw in the tsunami - houses gone, complete devastation. It must have been terrifying to have been here." The Cabinet would meet to discuss proposals about the recovery and what would be done to help...
Some Maori say the ancestors are angry. Much of the damage is in areas where ancestors killed in the wars of the 1860s are buried. "I'm a believer in this, whole-heartedly," said Tuwharetoa Kaumatua Matiaha Ota. "This is the area where they wanted to build houses and to us it's a wahi tapu." Earlier in the day 68-year-old May Clarke, known as "Auntie" and who has lived in Matata for 45 years, said: "They [the ancestors] are angry." The bones have been disturbed. "I never knew that they would do it in full blast for the whole community but they used their force which no-one can take from them."
Flood-hit Bay braces for another downpour
NZ Herald 22.05.05
Dozens of families have received the worst possible news in the wake of the devastating floods which struck the Bay of Plenty last week - they will never be able to return to their homes. It has been confirmed at least 93 homes have been seriously damaged by the flooding. Around half have been deemed too dangerous to go back into, or in imminent danger with the possible threat of more heavy rain today. A welfare centre was set up at the hardest hit area of Matata, west of Whakatane, yesterday morning. The area was still under a state of emergency last night and police were patrolling the area to stop looters. A full report on the disaster will be presented to Cabinet tomorrow. Prime Minister Helen Clark has already promised financial assistance, particularly for infrastructure repairs. She has also indicated rental and suspensory loan packages will be made available through the Housing Corporation for uninsured owners who have lost their homes or had them damaged. The Insurance Council has estimated at least 2000 claims are likely to be filed, making it the most costly flood in the Bay. The total repair bill is expected to add up to tens of millions of dollars.
Tauranga disaster: 'I told you so'
SUNDAY STAR TIMES SUNDAY, 22 MAY 2005
A Tauranga police officer says the city's council should never have allowed homes wrecked in flood-damaged Otumoetai to be built and last week's slips were bound to happen. As angry residents began demanding Tauranga City Council take action to prevent any repeat of Wednesday's disaster, Otumoetai resident and police officer Aaron Fraser said he had fought the council for two years about the risks... Some of the worst-affected Tauranga homes were part of a new subdivision on Vale St, at the bottom of a hill that collapsed on top of them after almost 300mm of rain fell over 24hours. "It shouldn't have been allowed really," Fraser said. The older homes above, built 30 or 40 years ago, are serviced by soak holes - where rainwater runs into large holes and disperses into the surrounding soil... Fraser filmed Wednesday's floods, including dramatic scenes of the Vale St home of Vladi Vladev being crushed from behind, because he wanted to take it to the council to prove his point. [...]
Despair in the Bay
NZ Herald 22.05.05
Landowners at Matata - the area hit hardest by flooding in the Bay of Plenty last week - have been devastated to learn they may not be allowed to rebuild their wrecked homes on sections deemed unsafe. Others have months of work before their homes are even close to being liveable. "We have looked at 91 houses and seven of those were declared safe," said disaster area manager Diane Turner yesterday... Whakatane District Council spokeswoman Mary Hermanson said the biggest barrier to getting people back into their homes was the removal of silt from the sections, stormwater drains and septic tanks... A total of 297 people had registered as evacuees with the welfare centre at Whakatane War Memorial. The Earthquake Commission said yesterday it had so far received more than 300 claims totalling $8 million. [...]
Flood-hit Bay braces for another downpour
NZ Herald 22.05.05
Dozens of families have received the worst possible news in the wake of the devastating floods which struck the Bay of Plenty last week - they will never be able to return to their homes. It has been confirmed at least 93 homes have been seriously damaged by the flooding. Around half have been deemed too dangerous to go back into, or in imminent danger with the possible threat of more heavy rain today. A welfare centre was set up at the hardest hit area of Matata, west of Whakatane, yesterday morning. The area was still under a state of emergency last night and police were patrolling the area to stop looters. A full report on the disaster will be presented to Cabinet tomorrow. [...]
Salvage work hampers volunteer firefighters
NZ Herald 23.05.05
Rain hampered clean-up efforts and put residents back on alert in flood ravaged Matata yesterday. The Bay of Plenty town's volunteer firefighters were standing by as heavy rain lashed the district in the early afternoon, and eventually residents, who had gone in to try to salvage possessions, were ordered back out. A dedicated team led by Civil Defence has been co-ordinating the clean-up of Matata, where last Wednesday's flooding led to a state of civil emergency and left a trail of destruction amounting to tens of millions of dollars...
Counting the cost - $50 million estimated damage in the Bay of Plenty [...]
Cabinet to consider aid for flood victims
NZ Herald 23.05.05
The Cabinet will today consider a multimillion-dollar rescue package for the Bay of Plenty as heavy rains have again forced residents in one of the worst-hit towns to leave their homes. In Matata, people returning to salvage possessions were last night evacuated as more rain fell... More than $250,000 has already been collected by various mayoral relief funds and Cabinet will discuss a rescue package proposal today after an updated report on the situation across the Bay of Plenty... During the meeting council recovery manager Terry Wynyard refused to answer questions from residents who claimed that the storm water infrastructure was inadequate, and that the authority had been warned about it. He acknowledged the "absolute miracle" that no one was killed or seriously injured but said now was a time for recovery work, not finger-pointing. "It was 285mm of rain in 24 hours and that's an incredible amount. We are aware our stormwater systems did not cope but we cannot deal with that at the moment. My priority is to get people back in their homes."
Bay of Plenty Flood - Floods' litany of destruction and expense
NZ Herald 24.05.05
Bay Of Plenty Flood - May 2005
$40 million bill for Government.
156 homes uninhabitable after floods and landslides.
16 homes have irreparable damage. More expected in this category.
Tauranga rainfall 557mm to May 20.
State Highway 2 still closed.
Flooding localised, generally surface.
Bay Of Plenty Flood - July 2004
Floods followed by more than 200 earthquakes.
2 people killed (one by landslide, one by tree on car).
3200 evacuate homes.
450 farms and 15 orchards damaged in Whakatane and Opotiki.
700 homes flooded or water-affected.
17,000ha of farmland under water.
$45 million estimated damage.
At least $5.5 million damage to roads (47 main roads and 34 bridges).
264mm rainfall in 48 hours.
$17.6 million insurance claims.
500 insurance claims for flooding, 1500 for earthquake damage.
Manawatu Storm - February 2004
2300 evacuate homes.
1014 farms flood-damaged.
400 homes still uninhabitable three months later, 922 people still out of their homes by then.
$112 million insurance claims.
$200 million estimated uninsured damage.
$77.6 million damage to roads and bridges (9300km roads closed, more than 20 bridges damaged).
$24 million damage to rivers.
$10 million soil conservation work.
5000 sheep, 600-1000 dairy cattle lost.
20,000ha of farmland under water.
More than 1000mm rainfall in Tararuas in February. [...]
Swarm of quakes just a nuisance
NZ Herald 26.05.05
Earthquakes have rocked Matata since early February and continued during the clean-up for the landslides this week.
Many residents have become immune to the regular shakes, having experienced more than 100 since the swarm began. The biggest quake, on April 14, measured 4.0 on the Richter scale. A sharp tremor on Wednesday that jolted outsiders involved in the clean-up went unnoticed by locals surveying properties near the beach. When asked if she felt the earthquake, Matata cafe owner Marilyn Pearce said she had become so used to the daily tremors she had not noticed it.
The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences said the swarm was unusual because it had continued for months, rather than hours or days... Earthquakes during last year's Bay of Plenty floods had rattled nerves but not caused any problems...
Heavy rain pounding flood-hit Bay of Plenty
NZ Herald 27.05.05
Bay of Plenty residents still reeling from flooding and slips over a week ago woke up this morning to heavy rain, thunder and lightning. After devastating rain on May 18, nearly 800 homes were affected by flooding and slips in Tauranga. Hundreds of people evacuated homes in Matata, north of Whakatane. Tauranga City Council communications manager Elizabeth Hughes told NZPA today residents and recovery workers alike would be waiting with bated breath to see what today's rain brought... Met Service forecaster John Crouch said there was a band of heavy rain moving through the Bay of Plenty which could hit both Tauranga and Matata... Yesterday door-to-door inspections in Tauranga found 11 more flood-affected properties that had not previously been reported.
Flood hits many without insurance
NZ Herald 27.05.05
Bay of Plenty people are being advised to take out insurance after it emerged that an estimated one in five of last week's flood victims had no cover. Insurance Council chief executive Chris Ryan said about 20 per cent of Tauranga residents did not have insurance... So far 2500 claims have been lodged with insurance companies and 526 with the Earthquake Commission. In other previously flood-struck areas - Manawatu and Whakatane - the situation was worse, with 40 per cent failing to guard against the unexpected. [...]
Spirits high despite new downpours
NZ Herald 28.05.05.
Rain fell for much of the day yesterday in the Bay of Plenty, testing nerves already frayed by last week's devastating downpours. More showers are expected today and tomorrow... Mayor Stuart Crosby said the rain caused no damage but made people nervous...
* $45 million bill for insurers.
* $40 million bill for Government.
* $1.7 million in claims to Earthquake Commission from Matata. [...]
Matata: The perfect disaster
NZ Herald 18.06.05
A Matata man has labelled the chaos caused in his town a month ago as "The Perfect Disaster". Engineer Wayne Maloney has spent a quarter of a century as custodian of a stream behind the coastal settlement that, during heavy rain on May 18, became a raging torrent of mud, trees and boulders. "You know the movie The Perfect Storm? Well, this was The Perfect Disaster," he says. Mr Maloney, whose home was destroyed by the debris that swept down the usually placid stream, says a variety of natural forces combined to devastating effect that day, destroying 27 homes and threatening the entire future of the town. And he believes a swarm of earthquakes plaguing Matata since early this year set off the tragedy...
He saw trees and boulders fired out of the ferocious mass "like cannonballs". Mr Maloney hopes experts compiling a report into whether destroyed areas of the town can be rebuilt do not label the disaster a flood. Matata has experienced floods before - this was something altogether different, he says.
Brad Scott, a volcanologist at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, says the idea of a "perfect disaster" at Matata is plausible, "but the primary issue was high-intensity rainfall"... A deluge of the sort that hit Matata - 94.5mm fell in one hour at nearby Awaponga and 347mm in two days at Tauranga - provided the mechanism for debris flows, which strengthen in narrow gorges. [...]
Flood victims told they can never go home
NZ Herald 13.07.05
Owners of 31 Matata properties last night received the news they had been dreading since the catastrophic May floods - their homes will not be rebuilt. Victim Support workers handed them letters yesterday on behalf of the Whakatane District Council, angering residents, who said the council should have sent its own representatives to break the news. The word came as heavy rain caused flooding in two areas of the town and two days before a public meeting is held to discuss the council's Hazards and Risk Report into the disaster. Yesterday's letter did not spell out the options but gave little hope for those whose homes were among the 27 destroyed and more than 80 damaged in the May 18 disaster. [...]
'Katrina? What about Matata?'
NZ Herald 01.10.05More than 50 Matata families are still in temporary accommodation. Whakatane District Council recovery manager Diane Turner said the number was dropping but it could still take a year for some to return. Kay Fergusson, whose property was ruined, said she resented the $2 million given to the hurricane victims by the Government... Mr Whalley said several Government ministers, including Prime Minister Helen Clark, had toured Matata after the May 18 disaster and promised help...
The residents' comments came after a meeting with the Whakatane council on Wednesday night, when they learned it may take until Christmas for a Government decision on whether it will pay $7.6 million that the council has requested for the town's restoration. [...]
Flood-hit properties to be recorded
NZ Herald 04.10.05
Owners of properties affected by the May floods and slips in Tauranga are to have their Lim building reports tagged with records of the damage... The May 18 disaster affected 789 properties. The worst-hit suburbs were Otumoetai (flooding and slips in streets including Vale St, Landscape Rd, Hinewa Rd, Whitaker St and Pillans Rd) and Welcome Bay (Estuary View Rd, Corinna St and Dingadee St)... In the aftermath of the disaster, the council carried out inspections of 1067 homes and properties. Thirty-nine houses were deemed total losses and 12 have already been demolished or transported to other sites. Four hundred people were evacuated and 82 households are still living in temporary accommodation. More than 2000 insurance claims have been made, and 625 accepted by the Earthquake Commission... Nearly 350mm rain fell in 24 hours on May 18. [...]
Heavy rain causes slips, closes roads
NZ Herald 11.02.06
Torrential rain caused flooding and land slides and closed roads throughout the North Island last night, including in the Bay of Plenty, which is still recovering from devastating floods in May last year. Whakatane police said State Highway 2 was closed at Matata, from 15km north of Whakatane to Tauranga. There had been several reports of boulders and slips blocking roads... This afternoon forecasters expect heavy rain to hit parts of Gisborne, north of Tokomaru Bay and continue until about 6am Sunday. [...]
'I thought hills were coming down,' says resident after latest floods
NZ Herald 12.02.06
Struggling Matata residents in the Bay of Plenty are reeling once again after a major deluge yesterday caused landslides, closed roads and the railway line and shut down telecommunications. The latest downpour - 150mm in 24 hours - has left some residents incensed after makeshift measures introduced after the severe flooding last year failed to prevent surface flooding yesterday. [...]
Clean-up still goes on a year after deluge
NZ Herald 10.05.06Almost a year after nearly 800 properties were damaged in the worst flooding in Tauranga's history, the clean-up continues. It is expected to take another year to fix all the damage inflicted on the city on May 18, 2005, when 347mm of rain fell in 24 hours - Tauranga's highest autumn rainfall since 1898. Four hundred people were evacuated from their homes as more than a metre of water swept down hills into low-lying areas, in some cases bringing houses down with it. Miraculously, no one was hurt or killed, but 39 families were left without a place to live after their properties were demolished. Eleven households are still in temporary accommodation. A tour of flood-hit areas in Otumoetai and Bureta yesterday showed the scars of the disaster still very much evident. [...]
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Last modified: 19 May 2005