Cyclone Gabrielle update 20 - General Update and Key Messages

Published 25 February 2023

The Tararua District remains under the National State of Emergency and continues to respond to the Cyclone Gabrielle event.

This update will cover:

  • Key priorities
  • Last 24 hours
  • Update on roads, water and power
  • Other key information


Our main priorities are now:

  1. Gathering and validating information on affected communities
  2. Weather watch and planning
  3. Outreach convoy planning
  4. Preparation for transition to recovery
  5. Welfare needs prioritisation
  6. Road Safety


Horizons water teams installed river level monitors on the Ākitio, Wainui and Owahanga rivers.  These monitors will send out cellular alerts to council and those registered of any significant level changes which will be used for early warning purposes.

Various welfare outreach missions took place, fulfilling previously identified requirements for isolated properties in the district.  Needs  assessments  continue to be logged and prioritised and  continue to be actioned  over the weekend.

Kieran McAnulty, Member of Parliament for the Wairarapa Electorate and Minister for Emergency Management took a detour from his scheduled tasks yesterday afternoon and took the time to visit Tararua District Council to see that we were ok.  He spoke with the Mayor Tracey Collis and Chief Executive, Bryan Nicholson, about our response effort and the early stages of our recovery phase.  He also spoke to our teams in our Emergency Operations Centre.  Mayor Tracey Collis said “The Minister has a great handle on the devastation and damage in our district caused by Cyclone Gabrielle and our response effort. He talked with us about our shared concerns regarding further rain over the weekend and our preparedness.  It was a kind visit and very much appreciated”


Key Message: Roads to our affected coastal regions are very vulnerable still, even more so now that we are having more rain.  Many roads are closed to the public and are needed for the ongoing response effort. Anyone attempting to drive on closed roads, risks the safety of themselves and their passengers, will further degrade road conditions, and will hamper our response efforts.  Do not travel on closed roads.  In the event of an accident  while travelling on a closed road, vehicle insurance will be voided by the insurance  company.

Road closure numbers have dropped slightly, there are now 27 closed roads. This total may fluctuate over the coming days as current and expected rainfall has an impact along our road network.  We continue to  remind everyone  not  to attempt to  drive on  closed roads for their , and their passengers safety.

The Tararua Alliance continue working hard on Route 52 to reopen the stretch from Weber to Ākitio, this is expected to be completed by Wednesday 1 March.

Our teams continue to update the Current Road Status page on the Council website as information is received. If you have new information about a road, please call us or report it using our Antenno app.

Please continue to view our Current Road Status page before any road travel:

Pongaroa: Pongaroa remains on a precautionary boil water notice.  We are awaiting laboratory results from Friday’s water sampling.  If this returns a satisfactory result, the boil water notice will lifted as soon as we receive the result. Depending on the speed of the laboratory analysing our sample, this may not be until Monday 27 February. A 15,000-litre tank of potable water is available to draw from at the Pongaroa Community Hall to cover this period.­

Ākitio: The precautionary boil water notice for Ākitio remains in place.  The final water sample test will be taken today.  If this returns a satisfactory result the boil water notice will be lifted as soon as as we receive the result.  Depending on the speed of the laboratory analysing our sample, this may not be until Monday 27 February.

Dannevirke: Dannevirke is still on an Alternate Days water restriction and residents are asked to practice water conservation techniques to ensure the impounded water supply levels remain sufficient until we are able to draw water directly from the Tamaki River again.


Scanpower report their network is stable and there have been no new power outages. They have been assisted by the Tararua Alliance and Tree Smart in clearing trees off the power lines along Bolton Road, near Ormondville. Scanpower expect electricity will be restored to affected properties on in the area by Tuesday 28 February 2023.

PowerCo continue to have a stable network.  They are prepared to respond to network issues over the weekend and have crews on standby.


River alert system:  You can sign up to receive alerts on river levels by signing up to Horizons Regional Council’s River Alert System. If you need any help filling out the subscription form, or would like any further information, please contact the Horizons information management team on freephone 0508 800 800. To sign up, go to:

Farmer and grower recovery grants: The Government is providing $25 million to help farmers, growers, and whenua Māori landowners recover from Cyclone Gabrielle. Grants for pastoral and arable farmers/growers of up to $10,000 to help initial recovery on-farm, such as repairs to water infrastructure for stock and fencing. Learn more:

Public health advice after a flood: As you begin, or continue, the clean-up of your property key points to ensure the health and safety of yourself and others when dealing with the clean-up can be found on our website at: .

Mayoral Relief Fund: The Mayoral Relief Fund is open for donations to help support Tararua communities find their feet after the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

The account details for the Mayoral Flood relief are:
Tararua District Council
Reference code: 560 OR Flood Relief

Mental Health Support: 1737 is New Zealand’s national mental health & addictions helpline number. Free call or text 1737 any time to talk with a trained counsellor. It’s completely free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rural Support Trust is also available on 0800 787 254.

Welfare support is available: If you have been affected by the cyclone and need support, please contact us on 06 374 4080 or 06 376 0110 and let us know how we can help.

Community Support Package: This Ministry of Social Development (MSD) government funded package aims to relieve some of the financial pressure on community groups and contracted providers that have been delivering response and recovery assistance.  For more information visit the MSD website at: