Gita aftermath: Hundreds remain without power

  • 25/02/2018

Taranaki residents who are still waiting for their power to be switched on may have to grin and bear it a bit longer.

Around 600 homes are still without power after Cyclone Gita ripped through the region this week.

Powerco network operations manager Phil Marsh says it's taking a long time because contractors have to visit each house affected. Repair jobs could take a few more days.

"Our workers have been on the go since the cyclone struck on Tuesday night but are doing their best to cope with the next phase of our recovery.

The scale of damage in eastern Taranaki, including Strathmore, Toko, Douglas and Whangamomona is massive and parts of that network will require a rebuild, he says.

Michelle George from Brigand Cafe Bar says it hasn't been all doom and gloom in Takaka.

"[We've] been stuck here, they haven't been able to get out - but everybody's actually had a good time. The weather's been nice. I haven't noticed anybody in any great hardship."

She told Newshub business could be worse.

"Not as busy as we would have been, but still busy enough."

The long-term effects of the storm are yet to be thought through, however.

"We haven't had time to think that far ahead. We're just taking one day at a time."

Traffic is expected to be allowed on SH60 from Riwaka to upper Takaka for the first time since Gita struck. Barges have been taking goods into the region and milk out since Gita turned small creeks into raging rivers and caused slips in the popular tourist region.

NZTA system manager Frank Porter says there will be final checks by geotechnical and safety engineers at daybreak on Sunday, and travel will be one-way, under escort in guided convoys, with strict safety controls from 9am to 5pm.

Priority will be given to essential vehicles and those most urgently needing to get in and out of the region.

Next week the road will be closed so crews can continue with repair works, but the road will open for limited periods at 7am and again at 5pm each day for essential travel.

Boil water notice

The emergency mobile alert regarding a boil water notice in parts of New Plymouth was re-sent about 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon.

Taranaki Civil Defence Controller Colin Comber said the initial message was originally scheduled to end Saturday, but the time period had now been extended by a further week.

Changing the dates on the notification meant it was re-sent to people in the affected area.

NZN / Newshub.