Helicopters survey snow damage in Hawke's Bay


There's still no light at the end of the tunnel for rural Hawke's Bay and Taupo residents, increasingly likely to spend more than a week without power.

Lines company Unison has warned customers the snow is still too thick to see the full extent of the damage to the network.

"It still looks like you could be facing more than a week without power."

The company is using helicopters, four-wheel drives and people on foot to survey the area and make repairs where possible.

Teams have managed to restore power to 70 homes mainly around the Tutira area north of Napier, and some homes along State Highway 5.

However for those still in the dark, there is no definite repair time.

"Based on progress to date the team is hopeful the majority of remaining customers can be restored in a few days as initially predicted - we are uncovering more damage by foot, so restoration will of course depend on how much more we find," Unison said on Facebook.

The main road linking Taupo and Napier was reopened on Tuesday, giving people a chance to get back to school and pick up stranded cars.

A small number of cars were gathered at the road closure in Te Pohue before finally being allowed through just after 11:30am.

Kevin Junior Monrad was going in to retrieve his car, after being stuck in it for the night on Friday. 

Helicopters survey snow damage in Hawke's Bay

(Adrien Taylor / Newshub.)

He'd tried to travel to a drift car race in Taupo with four friends on Friday but got stuck and had to spend the night in his car.

"Now we are back… to try retrieve it off the side of the road, hopefully, if it's still in one piece."

He says the whole experience was a bit of an adventure.

Never seen snow, so it was a bit of an experience," Mr Monrad says.

"We started losing traction heading up Tarawera hill and managed to slide in to the bank and get pulled out in the morning by search and rescue."

Helicopters survey snow damage in Hawke's Bay

(Adrien Taylor / Newshub.)

While the road has been re-opened, the heavy snow that caused the closure is still creating problem for farmers without power.

Some farmers throughout the area between Taupo and Napier have suffered livestock losses to the wintry conditions, which will come at a cost to their business.

"This is a critical situation for these people," says Federated Farmers' Alan Wills.

Farmer Dave Stanley calls it "the mother of all snow events".

He's lost a barn but no livestock, and is operating on generator power.

His only concern is the lack of snow being cleared on rural roads.

But through the cold, he keeps a smile and says wild weather is all part of farming.