Edgecumbe flooding: 'People are looking for answers'

Former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Michael Cullen has outlined details of how an independent review into Edgecumbe's stopbank failure will be undertaken.

Sir Michael, who lives in nearby Ōhope, is leading the review of the Rangitaiki River Scheme and its management.

"People are looking for answers. They want to know how did this happen, why this happened and what can be done differently in future," he said.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council asked Sir Michael to carry out the independent review. He'll be joined on the review panel by water resources engineer Kyle Christensen and geotechnical engineer Charlie Price.

The concrete stopbank collapsed on April 6, inundating the township with water and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people.

The review will examine the design, engineering, maintenance and management of the Ranitaiki River Scheme.

It will also look at implementation of the flood management role the Bay of Plenty Regional Council delivered until the breach and in response to the breach.

While ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie meant rivers were at record levels, Sir Michael says it's still not yet known how the stopbank breach happened and whether more could have been done to prevent it.

He expects the review will be completed by the end of July and hopes it may help avoid such an event again.

Meanwhile the Whakatāne District Council is also reviewing the Civil Defence response and the time people were asked to evacuate Edgecumbe on the day of the stopbank collapse.

"A lot of people think it should have been earlier but we weren't told how serious the wall was until about 8am," Mayor Tony Bonne said.

Almost two months on from the flooding, volunteers are still helping with the clean-up, but Mr Bonne believes good progress is being made.