Cyclone Gabrielle: Fears death toll could grow further in Hawke's Bay, high tides and surges 'threatening' Dargaville - Mayors

There are fears the death toll could grow further from Cyclone Gabrielle as some communities on the east coast of the North Island remain cut off. 

The death toll from Cyclone Gabrielle has risen to five, with a person in the Gisborne region believed to have died after getting caught in flood water.

Three people, including a child have died in Hawke's Bay, while a volunteer firefighter died after a house collapsed in Auckland's Muriwai. 

The HMNZS Manawanui is expected to reach Gisborne at first light, bringing critical supplies for the region. 

"Yesterday evening a Hercules brought in some military water, filtration device, so that will give us some drinking water," Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said.

"So we are very grateful for the supplies coming into our region. Much needed supplies."

Stoltz told AM the water situation remains "critical" and urged residents to conserve as much as they could. 

"I cannot emphasise it enough that our water situation is critical, but for the short term it's fantastic that we are getting some water system and some filtration devices, but this will be an ongoing issue as we try to fix our pipes," Stoltz said. 

Slightly south, Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker told AM they're also in a "critical situation" with water, but she did have positive news. 

"We are still in a critical situation with our water, but thankfully our local crews have managed to revive two sources of water to our main towns of Waipukurau, Waipawa and Ōtāne," Walker told AM. 

"They're heroes in my view to have resuscitated them to a level that we can reticulate some water. 

"It needs to be boiled and not all of those urban households will get that water." 

Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker.
Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker. Photo credit: AM

But Walker does fear the death toll could grow further. 

"I think we're still in the really early stages of what is an emergency rescue situation and anything could change," she said. 

"We're working really hard to contact everybody that we can in the region. Here in central Hawke's Bay, we've still got families that are cut off, that have no communication and potentially the roads are down as well. So we're continuing to try and get contact with them too." 

Further north in Kaipara, Mayor Craig Jepson said the area remains in a "threatening situation" because of high tide and surges. 

"What's occurring in Dargaville, we no longer have any rain there of course, but we've got surges coming down from the catchments," he said.

"So I think we've done a good job, we've got everyone evacuated that should be so we'll see what happens."

Kaipara Mayor Craig Jepson.
Kaipara Mayor Craig Jepson. Photo credit: AM

He told AM the impact is widespread and warned services could be out for another week.

"I've been very grateful to the emergency services, the volunteers, the church groups and the maraes, it's really been quite testing," he said. 

"We are a community with not a lot of resources, so we've had to do a lot of work ourselves. But at this stage, I think we've done a wonderful job and we've had no loss of life, which is great, but we just need to get over these surge peaks that are coming down and then maybe we can look forward to having the clean up."

Watch the full interview with Rehette Stoltz, Alex Walker and Craig Jepson above.