A week in the dark for snowed-in Hawke's Bay houses


Around 300 homes have been without power for a third night after heavy snow downed power lines and cut off roads.

Civil Defence continues to monitor the weather and river levels as they check-in on isolated properties.

Spokesman Ian Macdonald says if the power does stay out for a week, he estimates between 20-to-30 people may have to spend a few nights away from home.

“We are worried about people with limited means who, without out power for a week, may need to be evacuated to come into town for a hot shower etcetera.”

However not everyone is waiting for until the pantry is empty, some have already chosen to stay in motels for a few nights.

Civil Defence is urging people to get in touch if they need a hand. 

"What we are saying to people is that if they need help and they can't get help using their own resources then they should call us and we can arrange help for them," Mr Macdonald says.

He says some people will be equipped to last the week without power, people shouldn't underestimate the severity of the outage.

"Most of these communities have all been through this before in terms of snow but we are actually making sure that we've got plans in place to deal with people who are going to have no power for an extended period of time."

Emergency response teams will be working for days to restore power to hundreds of properties in northern Hawkes Bay and Taupo.

Power company Unison says limited access to rural areas is the biggest challenge facing restoration teams.

"Our efforts are at this stage restricted by the lack of access to cross-country areas where most of the damage to our 33kV network is, with over 150 poles down, broken and more twisted," the company said in a Facebook post. 

Access for motorists also remains limited in the area.

State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupo remains closed. NZTA says it will reassess the situation at 10am on Tuesday.

If you need help from Civil Defence, call their 24 hour line 06 871 5000