The recovery begins

OBSTACLE COURSE: Beach walks on city beaches will be a bit difficult over the next couple of months with large amounts of driftwood on the shore. Gisborne resident Tania Pyatt surveys the debris at Midway Beach, all arriving in two floods over the past week. Gisborne District Council, as in previous years, will wait until the end of winter to carry out a comprehensive clean-up. Picture by Liam Clayton

There are land and sea warnings as the district recovers from being hit by floodwaters twice in one week.

This morning’s sun and breeze is welcome relief to dry out roads, farms and backyards — but the ground is still soaked.

State Highway 2 reopened yesterday afternoon, connecting Gisborne back up with Opotiki and allowing access again to and from temporarily-isolated Te Karaka.

However, it was likely there would be more slips, dropouts and debris on roads in the days ahead, said Tairawhiti Roads journey manager Helen Harris.

This morning 600 residents woke up around rural Gisborne without power for the second day. People are encouraged to check Eastland Network’s Facebook page for progress.

The two floods have been classed as a “medium-scale adverse event”. This means the Government could assist the region financially for clean-up and repairs.

Flood-affected farmers in the region now face a tough winter after their paddocks were flooded with water.

This has meant the loss of their stock feed, needed to keep their animals nourished until spring.

There is also a warning about risks in the bay for boat owners, with pine logs floating just below the surface.

Boat owner and fisherman Dugald Hamilton hit a log about 14 miles offshore on Sunday. It went between the boat propellers and jammed them.

Mr Hamilton said pine logs had a slightly negative buoyancy, which meant they floated just below the sea surface.

“It is a big hazard because you can’t see them. It is a real concern because a lot of stuff in the water is not on top of it.

“I think there will be even more wood out there and I just don’t think its worth the risk.”

Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club president Roger Faber said he knew quite a few boat owners putting off going out because of the risk of logs in the bay.

“There is a tide at the moment running towards the north. We had all those southerlies after last week’s floods, so they have been pushed north out of our way. But this weekend has probably put more in the bay again.”

Gisborne District Council’s emergency valves along the rivers were closed at 7.30 this morning.

They were open for 11 hours to pump stormwater and effluent into the city’s rivers to stop it overflowing into backyards.

GDC has said it is not safe to swim, fish or gather shellfish in rivers and beaches until at least five days after it has stopped raining and warning signs are removed — that puts rivers and beaches out of action until Monday.

The beaches contain a large amount of driftwood on shore from the two floods.

GDC contracts and asset manager Garrett Blair said the council would wait until the end of winter to clean up city beaches of wood debris.

“This will allow us to do the work once, properly and it will be the most cost-effective solution for the council.

“The council has not had to pay anything for the Tolaga Bay clean-up, which is why we have carried this out now.”

Work continues at Tolaga Bay today to clear forestry slash from roads, rivers and the Tolaga Bay beach.

Eastland Wood Council chief executive Kim Holland said last week had been horrendous.

“We are all very grateful the sun is shining today.

“The weather is supposed to be like this for the next few days, at least to get lots of work done up there.”

Patutahi resident Marie-Pierre Bastien and her five-year-old son Felix found floodwaters blocking their exit yesterday.

“Knowing the animals and everybody was fine, I actually found it quite fun,” she said.

The night was a bit scary, they did not sleep much and there was no power for half the night. But when the sun rose, they woke up to a big paddock and roads full of water.

“We were stuck.”

So they played in the water, baked a cake and did some colouring.

This morning floodwaters had receded but were still high enough to reach the top of her vehicle’s wheels.

There are land and sea warnings as the district recovers from being hit by floodwaters twice in one week.

This morning’s sun and breeze is welcome relief to dry out roads, farms and backyards — but the ground is still soaked.

State Highway 2 reopened yesterday afternoon, connecting Gisborne back up with Opotiki and allowing access again to and from temporarily-isolated Te Karaka.

However, it was likely there would be more slips, dropouts and debris on roads in the days ahead, said Tairawhiti Roads journey manager Helen Harris.

This morning 600 residents woke up around rural Gisborne without power for the second day. People are encouraged to check Eastland Network’s Facebook page for progress.

The two floods have been classed as a “medium-scale adverse event”. This means the Government could assist the region financially for clean-up and repairs.

Flood-affected farmers in the region now face a tough winter after their paddocks were flooded with water.

This has meant the loss of their stock feed, needed to keep their animals nourished until spring.

There is also a warning about risks in the bay for boat owners, with pine logs floating just below the surface.

Boat owner and fisherman Dugald Hamilton hit a log about 14 miles offshore on Sunday. It went between the boat propellers and jammed them.

Mr Hamilton said pine logs had a slightly negative buoyancy, which meant they floated just below the sea surface.

“It is a big hazard because you can’t see them. It is a real concern because a lot of stuff in the water is not on top of it.

“I think there will be even more wood out there and I just don’t think its worth the risk.”

Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club president Roger Faber said he knew quite a few boat owners putting off going out because of the risk of logs in the bay.

“There is a tide at the moment running towards the north. We had all those southerlies after last week’s floods, so they have been pushed north out of our way. But this weekend has probably put more in the bay again.”

Gisborne District Council’s emergency valves along the rivers were closed at 7.30 this morning.

They were open for 11 hours to pump stormwater and effluent into the city’s rivers to stop it overflowing into backyards.

GDC has said it is not safe to swim, fish or gather shellfish in rivers and beaches until at least five days after it has stopped raining and warning signs are removed — that puts rivers and beaches out of action until Monday.

The beaches contain a large amount of driftwood on shore from the two floods.

GDC contracts and asset manager Garrett Blair said the council would wait until the end of winter to clean up city beaches of wood debris.

“This will allow us to do the work once, properly and it will be the most cost-effective solution for the council.

“The council has not had to pay anything for the Tolaga Bay clean-up, which is why we have carried this out now.”

Work continues at Tolaga Bay today to clear forestry slash from roads, rivers and the Tolaga Bay beach.

Eastland Wood Council chief executive Kim Holland said last week had been horrendous.

“We are all very grateful the sun is shining today.

“The weather is supposed to be like this for the next few days, at least to get lots of work done up there.”

Patutahi resident Marie-Pierre Bastien and her five-year-old son Felix found floodwaters blocking their exit yesterday.

“Knowing the animals and everybody was fine, I actually found it quite fun,” she said.

The night was a bit scary, they did not sleep much and there was no power for half the night. But when the sun rose, they woke up to a big paddock and roads full of water.

“We were stuck.”

So they played in the water, baked a cake and did some colouring.

This morning floodwaters had receded but were still high enough to reach the top of her vehicle’s wheels.

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