Weather: Tolaga Bay locals 'questioning future' after Cyclone Hale battered area

Some families in Tolaga Bay are pondering their futures as they deal with the aftermath of last week's Cyclone Hale, a civil defence leader says.

Local civil defence manager Greg Shelton said some residents were still without power. He expected it would take significant time to get life back to normal.

"We're in our fourth fine day, and I guess with that people can get out a bit, they can open their windows and really make a plan going forward," he told Morning Report.

"But this is going to be a long, long drawn-out thing for those that haven't got power, and there will be a lot of people without power for quite some time.

"There are a lot of people there that were still having to carry bread and milk over rivers to get to. There's no easy fix here."

Agencies in Tairāwhiti have been delivering food and supplies to communities isolated in the wake of Cyclone Hale, in many cases using the Defence Forces to do so.

A state of emergency was announced for the East Coast last Tuesday, with pockets of the region cut off from roads, power, service and landlines.

Shelton said one local family's private bridge washed away, making it impossible for them to be mobile.

"If they can get the vehicle on the other side, they can get out but the infrastructure isn't anything like that. It could be 12 months before, with financial restraints, that one or two people can still get back to their homes."

The state of the roads, people's driveways and bridges in the region varied dramatically, he said.

"The main highway from Gisborne up to Tolaga Bay I understand is not too bad at the moment, but further north there are a lot of major issues up there - roads, services, bridges and privately people with have lost access to their own homes. You know, just mud and silt in logs and just everything imaginable."

The impact of the weather on people's lives was so extreme that some were asking hard questions about why they wanted to live there, Shelton said.

"We've got people that are beginning to question their future around here, which is sad, and these are the people we'd like to talk to because they're too good families to lose.

"I'm farming and my place got hit particularly hard when the worst back in March, so we're looking at 10 months and we're still trying to get a bulldozer through the through the place. So I know what these people are going through - in our main property we've got 80 percent of it that we can't even get over."

He said Cyclone Hale came very close to being like Cyclone Bola, one of the costliest cyclones in the history of New Zealand, which passed near the country in March 1988.

People were now anxious about what Wednesday would bring, when a sub-tropical low is forecast to pass over.

"There's already mud and silt and a few logs around," he said. "It's just more of a mental thing at the moment. It's anxiety for these people know that there's there's another one just around the corner and there could be more until into March."

He said their only option was to evacuate if needed.

Civil Defence teams were due to meet this afternoon to discuss the next step for the clean-up.