Cyclone Gabrielle: 103yo Northlander facing two weeks without power as crews work to fix outages

A 103-year-old woman in a rural Northland community is facing two weeks without power.

Restoration crews are having to work around floods and slips to fix outages, with many areas in the region still cut off. 

You may recognise James and Isey Cross from an Instant Kiwi ad, or from a documentary when Isey celebrated her 100th birthday. 

But at the moment in rural Kawakawa, 103-year-old Isey is on day four without power and has just been told it could take up to 10 days to get it back on again. 

"We're living in an ice box … A hoodie on, a hat on, sweatpants, I was under two blankets and I couldn't stop shivering," James said.

He said all the food in their freezer has thawed out and they've been living on packet soup for dinner.

The torch they use at night is about to go flat.

With only one other house on the same line, James said getting their fault fixed is not a priority. 

"A lady that lives that long, anyone over 100, damn well deserves to be put first," James said.

"Terrible, but we've just got to take it," Isey said.

Fatigue for electricity workers is a big concern right now as they work around the clock to fix widespread outages. And while many issues have been resolved, 18,000 people remain without power. 

"The biggest thing is they got Ruakaka and Waipu hooked up last night, so that's south of Whangarei, so the farmers out in that area can actually milk," said Whangarei Mayor Vince Cocurullo.

With a break in the weather today, the focus now is the clean-up and reconnecting critical roads in the region. 

"We need those state highways back up as soon as possible so that we can get our trucks going again," Cocurullo said.

So that Te Tai Tokerau can get back to business.