Napier road washout cancels wedding, isolates farmers

There is no way in or out for those on the remote McVicar Rd (Garth McVicar)
There is no way in or out for those on the remote McVicar Rd (Garth McVicar)

A couple from Australia planning to get married outside Napier tomorrow have been forced into Plan B after heavy rain washed out the only road to the venue.

McVicar Rd, which runs along the Mohaka River in Te Haroto, has cut off the 10 permanent residents including farmer and Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar.

It's the only road to his farm and the neighbouring Mountain Valley Adventure Lodge, where the wedding was to be held this weekend.

Lodge co-owner Julie Batt said the couple had scheduled and organised the wedding, with about 30 guests in attendance, about a month ago.

They wanted the wedding to be held at the lodge because it was central to family and friends living in New Zealand.

"It's huge, absolutely horrendous. I've never seen anything like it, to be honest. It's not just a little washout, there's this gaping big hole that's about 20m across and 8m deep and there's no way of getting across it," Ms Batt says.

With every reason for the bride to feel down about the situation, Ms Batt said she was very philosophical about it.

"She has been wonderful, she's been good about it because I think I had everything in place before I let her know and she was accepting of it knowing there's nothing that can be done about the weather so she's making the most of it," she says.

The wedding had been organised to be at a hotel in Napier tomorrow, though only after exploring all the possibilities.

"We considered looking at helicoptering the guests in because there's no reason why the event can't be held here, it's just getting people in. The cost of that was pretty horrendous."

And now it's tarnished a perfect wedding streak for the lodge.

"We pride ourselves on never having had a wet wedding in Mountain Valley in all the time we've been here. Not once has a wedding been rained out and we've lost that little record now," Ms Batt says.

A number of horse treks, fishing trips and other activities have also had to be cancelled this weekend, and there are doubts a school holiday horse camp next week will go ahead because of the washout.

Mr McVicar expected to be cut off for up to 10 days, but says they are well prepared.

"Living in the country we have generators, so if we lose power we're okay, you always have your cupboards stocked up, it's a bit of an inconvenience, but there's probably people worse off than us.

"Really you've just got to knuckle down and enjoy it, light the fire and do what you have to do and you can't do anything about the weather," he says.

While farmers always enjoyed rain, Mr McVicar says he'd prefer it to be spread "over six months rather than six days".

His first priority was to make sure the animals were safe before dealing with the storm damage.

However, every drop of rain puts them in a better position to deal with future drought conditions.

3 News / RadioLIVE