New Zealand

New Zealand: Flood update 25 Feb 2004

Situation Report
Originally published
National Emergency Operations Centre
Date/time: 25 February 2004 1700 hrs Release No: 13

National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) to Stand Down

As the focus of the Ministry moves from response to recovery, the NEOC will stand down. Ministry staff will revert to normal office hours and re-open its offices in the MED building (33 Bowen Street). The Ministry's usual contact number (473 7363) for office hours.

This will be the final media release being issued from the NEOC for this Civil Defence event, and will provide a broad overview of the emergency in the region and districts, and the current situation.


Intense rainfall and gale force winds from 15-23 February have affected the lower North Island and top of the South Island with extensive and severe flooding and some wind damage. The river peak of the Manawatu River was the second largest on record, the largest being recorded in 1902. The peak of the Rangitikei was the third largest on record since 1897.

The event affected the regions of Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington and Marlborough.

Response efforts were carried out by

  • South Taranaki District Council
  • Rangitikei District Council
  • Manawatu District Council
  • Palmerston North City Council
  • Wanganui District Council
  • Tararua District Council
  • Horowhenua District Council
  • Ruapehu District Council
  • Malborough District Council
  • Hutt City Council
  • South Wairarapa District Council
Manawatu-Wanganui Region

Group Declaration:

2000 Hours 17 February 2004

Declaration Terminated:

001 Hours 25 February 2004

Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Status:

All EOCs in region have stood down

Infrastructure/Utility Summary:

Gas: Gas supply to Hawkes Bay restored

Power: 176 isolated outages -- under restoration but delayed by access

Water: Bulls, Hunterville and Mangaweka require boiling. Feilding water supply restored (limited pressure). Waitoara on tanker supply.

Phone: 290 isolated outages being restored.

Rail: Main trunk line now open. Whangaehu rail bridge closed. Marton to Whareroa line being detoured.

Bridges: 4 bridges destroyed, 21 bridges seriously damaged

Roads: SH3 Manawatu Gorge remains closed. A small number of roads remain closed.

Estimated Regional Stock Losses

Cows 331

Sheep 897

Horses 13

Other 1

Total 1,242

Horowhenua District Council

Welfare: Estimated at 86 current evacuees, 4 schools closed

Utilities: Power fully restored

Damage: 20 houses affected

Roads: All roads open, Foxton-Shannon road now open

Ruapehu District Council

Welfare: Estimated at 46 current evacuees

Utilities: Power fully restored

Rangitikei District Council

Welfare: Estimated at 450 current evacuees

Damage: 150 houses affected

Utilities: Power mainly restored. Water supplies in Bulls, Hunterville and Mangaweka restored but require boiling.

Manawatu District Council

Welfare: Estimated at 12 current evacuees, 7 schools closed

Damage: 49 houses affected

Utilities: Feilding main water supply restored -- limited capacity.

Wanganui District Council

Welfare: Unknown number of current evacuees, 3 schools closed

Tararua District Council

Welfare: Estimated at 7 self-evacuated

Taranaki Region

Civil Defence Emergency declaration remains current until 1 March 2004. Taranaki EOC remains active.

Welfare: Estimated at 46 current evacuees, 1 school closed. Provision of welfare support to displaced people via one stop shop. Continued isolation of families in the Waitotara Valley and requirement to re-supply by air.

Damage: 31 houses affected

Utilities: Contamination of semi-reticulated water supply and tanks. 2-3 days for most water tanks to be refilled.

Marlborough Region

Welfare: 5 families remain evacuated

Utilities: 13 homes disconnected from sewerage

Wellington Region

Regional Effect

Flooding mainly confined to the Lower Hutt area causing numerous evacuations, landslides, major road closures and temporary isolation of Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne. Water supply contamination experienced in South Wairarapa

Hutt City Council

Welfare: Estimated at 90 current evacuees

Damage: 45 houses affected

South Wairarapa Council

Welfare: 16 persons remain evacuated

Utilities: Water restoration is expected by Monday 23 February.


The operational response phase is now transitioning to the recovery phase that focuses on the following priorities:

  • Welfare/housing
  • Infrastructure
  • Rural
Key Issues Summary


'One-Stop-Shops' are open in 11 locations: Waitotara, Fielding (x2), Scotts Ferry, Marton, Foxton, Bulls/Ohakea, Tangimoana, Wanganui, Kapiti, Lower Hutt.

The National Welfare & Recovery Group will continue to work with regional and district authorities as required to set up further structures as need is identified.

Rural Issues:

A phone survey has been established, based on Fed Farmers database, to ascertain scope and scale of farmers' needs.

Six strategic areas of focus have been identified:

  • Communications
  • Labour coordination
  • Donations and distribution
  • Technical support
  • Welfare matters

State Highway status continues to improve however the Manawatu Gorge SH3 will be closed for at least a week. Within Manawatu-Wanganui extensive road and bridge damage has been assessed and a work programme put in place.

All main-trunk rail lines are open, with a diversion between Marton and Whareroa to allow dairy deliveries to Hawera. The Marton-New Plymouth line will not open until next Thursday 26th due damage to the Whangaehu Bridge.

Gas supplies to all Hawke's Bay customers were restored late Friday 20 February. Customers without electricity in rural areas such as Ngamatapouri and Mangamahu have been reduced to less than 200.

Several water supplies need boiling due contamination, but main supplies have been restored in Bulls, Hunterville, Fielding and Mangaweka. Water supply for Waitotara, Hunterville and Ratana are via tanker until bore supplies clear and tanks are cleaned.