‘Surreal’ for township to be cut off to north and south

SWOLLEN WAIPAOA: The Waipaoa River peaked at 10.5 metres at Te Karaka yesterday morning and to the relief of the cut-off township, the rain stopped. This photograph looks from the highway across flooded farmland and the Waipaoa to the far floodbank, with flooded farmland beside Lavenham road beyond the men on the floodbank. Picture by Paul Rickard
Storm - Waipaoa River

The Te Karaka community hung together well yesterday, despite being cut off by floodwaters north and south, says Te Karaka chief fire officer Jamie Simpson, who kept a close eye on the situation through the day.

Floodwaters closed State Highway 2 south of Te Karaka at Nesbitt’s Dip and north on State Highway 2 at Puha near the Whatatutu turnoff.

Mr Simpson’s day started at 3am yesterday and then other volunteers from the fire brigade came on in the daylight.

“We kept a close eye on what was happening in and around the township.” he said.

“We spent the morning and early afternoon watching what the Waipaoa River was doing, and if there were any threats to low-lying houses.

“We relaxed when the rain stopped and the river started dropping early in the afternoon.”

Mr Simpson said the river got up to about 10.5 metres at its peak.

“It starts to overtop the stopbanks and threaten the township at 11.5m to 12m.

“It was a relief that no evacuations were necessary.”

Mr Simpson said it was a quiet day in the township.

“We didn’t open our doors for business at Simpson Automotive. We just kept an eye on the river.”

Half the township was without electricity for the morning until Eastland Network flew linesmen in by helicopter to sort out the power outage.

“Full power came back on at about midday and that made a difference to everyone’s spirits.”

Staff from Fulton Hogan who live in the township put sandbags in place on the highway north and south.

“That was to stop the river flooding and following the road down into the township,” Mr Simpson said.

“it was a slow and surreal day in Te Karaka,

“There’s not a lot you can do. You cannot beat Mother Nature and you’ve just got to wait and see what happens. Fortunately, nothing serious happened with the Waipaoa.”

The township went through a similar cut-off experience a couple of years ago. “It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. The more it happens, the more you get used to it. The best thing that happened was everyone looked after each other, their families and neighbours . . . then the sun came out.”

The Te Karaka community hung together well yesterday, despite being cut off by floodwaters north and south, says Te Karaka chief fire officer Jamie Simpson, who kept a close eye on the situation through the day.

Floodwaters closed State Highway 2 south of Te Karaka at Nesbitt’s Dip and north on State Highway 2 at Puha near the Whatatutu turnoff.

Mr Simpson’s day started at 3am yesterday and then other volunteers from the fire brigade came on in the daylight.

“We kept a close eye on what was happening in and around the township.” he said.

“We spent the morning and early afternoon watching what the Waipaoa River was doing, and if there were any threats to low-lying houses.

“We relaxed when the rain stopped and the river started dropping early in the afternoon.”

Mr Simpson said the river got up to about 10.5 metres at its peak.

“It starts to overtop the stopbanks and threaten the township at 11.5m to 12m.

“It was a relief that no evacuations were necessary.”

Mr Simpson said it was a quiet day in the township.

“We didn’t open our doors for business at Simpson Automotive. We just kept an eye on the river.”

Half the township was without electricity for the morning until Eastland Network flew linesmen in by helicopter to sort out the power outage.

“Full power came back on at about midday and that made a difference to everyone’s spirits.”

Staff from Fulton Hogan who live in the township put sandbags in place on the highway north and south.

“That was to stop the river flooding and following the road down into the township,” Mr Simpson said.

“it was a slow and surreal day in Te Karaka,

“There’s not a lot you can do. You cannot beat Mother Nature and you’ve just got to wait and see what happens. Fortunately, nothing serious happened with the Waipaoa.”

The township went through a similar cut-off experience a couple of years ago. “It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. The more it happens, the more you get used to it. The best thing that happened was everyone looked after each other, their families and neighbours . . . then the sun came out.”

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