Weather: Gisborne could be struck by more heavy rain as Cyclone Hale cleanup continues


The local state of emergency in Tairāwhiti - Gisborne could soon be lifted, as authorities work to restore basic services to communities reeling from the impact of Cyclone Hale.

However, Gisborne could be struck with more heavy rain next week and Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz said there were some big decisions to be made this week.

Significant progress had already been made in the clean up, Civil Defence said, and the area could may move into a recovery phase soon.

"Tomorrow we will meet to see if we can transition out of our response mode into recovery," Stoltz said.

"Unfortunately we do alert that some subtropical low might be coming this way in the next week, but it's only at this stage keeping an eye on what's going on."

Some remote communities would need supplies delivered for some time yet, she said. Some were depending on help from the Defence Force, but others could be accessed on local roads using a four-wheel-drive.

Slips and debris had now been cleared in many places. The main coastal route, State Highway 35, was reopened for daylight hours and many other rural roads were restored for use by four-wheel-drive vehicles.

But dozens of homes in Tauwhareparae, inland from Tolaga Bay, were still without power, and it was unlikely to be restored by the end of Sunday.

Gisborne District Council civil defence manager Ben Green said it had been difficult to repair the damaged electricity infrastructure supplying Tauwhareparae.

There were about 53 properties still to be reconnected, and Green said crews had worked 70 hours this week and were unlikely to reach them until Monday.

MetService said a sub-tropical low bringing more rain would move onto the east of the North Island late on Thursday.

Although it was still uncertain how it would tack across the island, forecasters said it could bring more heavy falls to Gisborne from mid-Wednesday until late Thursday.

However, those in the Hawke's Bay area north of Napier were likely to escape warning amounts of rain.

By Saturday evening, 10 families were still in emergency accommodation, while six others were able to head home on Saturday morning.

Civil Defence said about half of the 180 homes contacted on Saturday needed help of some form.

More than 60 food or medical supply parcels had been distributed to isolated Tairāwhiti families.

Most of the parcels, which the Defence Force helped deliver, had gone to homes in Ruatoria, while about 10 went to other rural areas.

The government had pledged $100,000 toward recovery efforts in Gisborne, including one-on-one mentoring support.

A $150,000 contribution to the Mayoral Relief Fund was also announced, to help with the clean-up.

Stoltz said Gisborne authorities expected to update the government about the damage this week.