Flash flooding could exacerbate kauri dieback spread

While a rāhui was already in place before the weekend's wild weather, some people haven't been following it.
While a rāhui was already in place before the weekend's wild weather, some people haven't been following it. Photo credit: Getty

Trampers are being urged to respect a rāhui and stay out of the Waitakere Ranges in light of the weekend's flash flooding.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Piha Ron Gorter says Saturday's flooding washed a lot of gravel out of the walking tracks in the area.

In areas where gravel once protected the tracks, kauri roots are now exposed, meaning dieback has a higher risk of spreading.

"Without that gravel it'd be great if people stay out of the area so they don't spread the disease," he says.

While a rāhui was already in place before the weekend's wild weather, some people haven't been following it.

Mr Gorter says 18 people were stranded on the Winstone Track in the Waitakeres when the flooding came on.

"They called the police on their cellphone but the police didn't know the area particularly well. We do because we live here, so we were able to give them reasonably good directions, and as an outcome it was pretty well managed.

"We directed the police to intercept them, and they brought them out the top rather than coming down into the Piha Valley area."

He says he has never seen the river flood as fast as it did on Saturday.

"The river came up very, very quickly. It was an intense downpour, and we weren't certain how long it was going to last. Our concern was to get people out while we could in case it flooded more.

"Over the time we were evacuating - about 20 minutes to half an hour - the river came up another metre to metre-and-a-half, so we were lucky to get the fire truck out.

"We got two of the surf club IRBs [inflatable rescue boats] and used those to ferry people across about a 150m stretch of road that was under a metre-and-a-half of water."

Mr Gorter says only four or five properties have water damage, but the street is lined with eight or nine flooded cars.

Newshub.

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