Cyclone Gabrielle: Incredible family reunion in Hawke's Bay's Dartmoor as authorities scour wasteland for victims

On Monday, Newshub visited a winery where it wasn't just the water that ended up over people's heads but the silt - and we witnessed an incredible family reunion.

The isolated Hawke's Bay community of Dartmoor remains completely cut off a week after Cyclone Gabrielle tore through the region.

Today Newshub was there as soldiers braved a major river crossing to deliver vital supplies to stranded locals.

This is what it's come to for cut-off communities in Hawke's Bay. This is as close as we can get to Dartmoor, a settlement still trapped and reliant on these military river crossings to survive.

But suddenly amongst it all came a long-awaited reunion.

Dartmoor local Haley Keegan used a makeshift pulley to float across the Tutaekure River and reunite with mum Jill.

"It's all been a bit surreal really," Haley said.

A reminder of what this region's been through and the reality it now faces. Many are still without access, power, water or phone coverage.

"As long as everyone is safe, that's all that matters," Jill said.

Among the survivors along parts of Dartmoor Rd we can access is orchardist Greg Evans.

He should be in full harvest here. Instead four hectares - $800,000 - of his small, family orchard has been wiped out.

For now, it's clean-up but there's a very serious long-term conversation not far off.

"There's some massive volumes of stumps that are associated with forestry. I've been through a lot of floods but nothing like this amount of debris and wood," he said.

To the north, Eskdale still resembles another planet. At Petane Wines, they've managed to clear some of the metres-thick silt and slash to make it to the building and then cut a hole in the wall to get inside.

Inside volunteers reach into the sludge to retrieve stock.

"We are talking two metres, two metres in the brewery, two days ago it was like quicksand," said Petane Wines owner Phillip Barber.

"I'm really focussed, I'm focussed on what we can do, the reason we're focussed is because I thought my family were all dead."

And as we talk, authorities scour the barren wasteland around us looking for signs of those claimed by Gabrielle.

A stark reminder of how lucky those left behind really are despite all they've lost.