Cyclone Gabrielle update 12 – General update and Key messages

Published 17 Feb 2023

The community spirit here in Tararua is amazing. We are loving the heart-warming stories that are rising above the mud, people helping and supporting each other. The amount of people who have reached out offering support is fantastic.

Our customer service teams are still available 24/7. If there is something that needs to be reported, we urge you to do so. Even if it is something you feel we may know about. The more information, the better!

This is a pretty long one, but these messages are important so please read them:


The Tararua District remains under the National State of Emergency that was declared on Tuesday. This will remain in force for 7 days.

The Emergency Operation Centre at Council is still operating to coordinate the response to Cyclone Gabrielle. We have a dedicated team working tirelessly to navigate the challenges we are all facing as quickly as possible. The team is actively monitoring the situation and will continue to keep you up to date of the latest developments.


The roading team are flat out in the field, working under difficult conditions, and are very stretched for resources as they focus on high priority roads. In a great effort our teams managed to open five roads throughout the District yesterday. Many roads still remain closed. Please refer to the Road Status Update page to see which roads are closed. This page is live and updated regularly.
Roading | Tararua District Council (


Safety is our top priority during this response to Cyclone Gabrielle. Our teams have closed roads for a very good reason. They are currently not safe for the public to use. Especially the roads in the north east of our District.

Driving along closed roads puts yourself, others, and our roading teams at risk. It also makes it difficult for our roading teams to do their vital work of assessing damage and planning the huge job of repairs. Please also be aware that insurances will be invalid while driving on a road that has been closed. The police are helping to monitor roads that have been closed.


Ākitio remains on a precautionary boil water notice as we wait for power to be restored to the area so the water treatment plan will be fulliy operational again. Powerco is hopeful the Akitio community will have power by tomorrow.

Once this has been accomplished, we should be able to lift the boil water notice for Ākitio.

Pongaroa remains on a boil water notice. Last night, pallets of water were delivered to the Pongaroa Hotel and Community Centre. These are available for collection now. A 15000L water tank, closely followed by a water tanker was deployed to Pongaroa this morning. The public will now be able to draw water from the water tank located at the community hall.

Dannevirke - We continue to ask that Dannevirke residents conserve water where they can as we remain solely reliant on the impounded water supply. Testing continues to be done on the turbidity levels of the Tamaki River to determine when we can start drawing water from this supply again. Currently the levels of the impounded water supply are enough to address the immediate needs of the community. However, to avoid having to impose water restrictions, we ask for the community to please conserve water where they can.


Yesterday Scanpower did an amazing job restoring power to 145 people in communities that lost power on Tuesday. Today they will have crews onsite restoring power to their customers that remain without power. Today they are focussing their efforts on restoring power to the Mangahei circuit bank.

Today, Powerco are focussing their efforts on restoring power to the Ākitio, Pongaroa area. They are confident power will be restored to these areas over the weekend. The telecommunications to Akitio and Pongaroa was restored yesterday.


Recycling collection in our urban centres will continue as usual. Glass crates will be collected next week.


Do not consume food that has come in to contact with floodwaters. Flood water can be extremely toxic and pose many health risks. If food has come in to contact with floodwaters, it must be thrown out. After a flood, also throw away:

  • Any food that has an unusual odour, colour or texture.
  • Perishable foods (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that have been left above 5*C for more than four hours.
  • Canned food if the can is open, bulging or damaged.


Please be reminded to stay away from rivers and other waterways. Please don’t go near floodwater, and do not play, drive or walk through the water. Please be cautious of your animals around our waterways.


If you are needing to leave your house. Take animals with you and everything you need for them. If you are concerned about dogs that have been in floodwaters, please call the vet before taking them in. If you are in an isolated community and have animal welfare needs, please reach out to council so we can help.


Many schools have re-opened. There are still some of our rural schools that remain closed due road closure, staff shortages and other obstacles. Please stay in contact with your school to keep up to date on their operational status. Many GoBus services have now been re-instated. However, please check with your school or GoBus for more information.


Planning is underway for more outreach missions to reach more isolated communities over the weekend.


Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at any libraries Tararua or service centre sites.


Many areas in our district have been devastated by cyclone Gabrielle. Our outreach teams on the ground in the community have seen the devastation first hand and we know it is going to take these communities a lot to recover. The mayoral flood relief flood provides support to help these communities find their feet after devastation.

If you would like to donate, the account details for the flood relief are:
Account name: Tararua District Council


Reference code: Flood Relief

Some helpful links and resources are below:
Roading info for our district:

Up to date Information on river heights and rainfall is available via Horizons 24-hour toll free Waterline 0508 4 FLOOD or via

State Highway info:

For up-to-date weather forecasts and warnings:

Civil defence flood relief payments:

Civil defence support info: