Cyclone Gabrielle has weakened and moved away from New Zealand, as the country continues the recovery effort from the storm that's left several people dead and displaced thousands.

Police have confirmed eight people, including a toddler and two volunteer firefighters, have died and Newshub is awaiting confirmation of a ninth victim.

Police and the NZ Defence Force have set up a temporary morgue in Napier amid fears more people will be found dead following the destruction brought by the storm earlier this week.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said people should "be prepared for the likelihood that there will be more fatalities" as police have "grave concerns" for several missing people. However, on Friday, Hipkins said there is no evidence to support there has been a large number of deaths in this tragedy.

The mammoth rescue and recovery effort is ongoing in Tairāwhiti and Hawke's Bay. However, thousands of people remain unaccounted for. 

Over 37,000 Hawke's Bay homes remain without power on Friday, the majority of these are in Napier.

Meanwhile, in Auckland evacuations have taken place after concerns about land movement and the risk of further slips in both Muriwai and Piha.

Official Government advice:

  • Put safety first. Don’t take any chances. Act quickly if you see rising water. Floods and flash floods can happen quickly. If you see rising water do not wait for official warnings. Head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater.
  • Do not try to walk, play, swim, or drive in floodwater: even water just 15 centimetres deep can sweep you off your feet, and half a metre of water will carry away most vehicles.
  • If you have evacuated, please stay where you are until you are given the all-clear to go home.
  • If you don’t need to evacuate, support those who do by staying home, staying off roads and staying safe. 
  • If you are not able to contact your whānau in heavily affected areas go to Police 105 website and complete the inquiry form or phone 105 and remember to update if you reconnect through other means.
  • Throw away food and drinking water that has come into contact with floodwater as it is often contaminated and can make you sick.
  • If you are without power eat the food from your fridge first, then your freezer. Then eat the food in the cupboard or your emergency kit.
  • People should stay up to date with the forecasts from MetService and continue to follow the advice of civil defence and emergency services.
  • A National State of Emergency is in place for an initial period of seven days and applies to regions that have declared a local State of Emergency.

What else you need to know:

  • A national state of emergency remains in place
  • Tens of thousands of people across the Far North, Northland, Auckland, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay are without power. Civil Defence says it could be "up to a week" before power is fully restored in Hawke's Bay
  • Residents in Gisborne and parts of central Hawke's Bay are being told to urgently conserve water
  • Nine-thousand people are displaced in Hawke's Bay alone, the Government says.

Useful websites:

These live updates are now over.

10pm - An orchardist in the rural community of Puketapu is calling on the Prime Minister to visit his flood-stricken community.

Read more here.

9:57pm - Dangerously low water levels for Gisborne are leaving residents with nothing to drink, after their wastewater treatment failed.

Read the full story here

9:55pm - A rural community in Wairarapa is also struggling in the aftermath of the cyclone which has left a mighty mess behind.

Read more here

9:45pm - Anxiety is setting in for Gisborne residents as they struggle after days of poor communication and food shortages.

There are queues almost everywhere with locals waiting, hoping and trying to get cash out.

Read the full story here

9:25pm - Hawke's Bay officials say it's still possible people are stranded and waiting to be rescued.

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and Civil Defence have told Prime Minister Chris Hipkins the need is still great and time is running out.

Read more here

9pm - Police say they are continuing to pour staff and resources into the Eastern District to assist the local response to Cyclone Gabrielle.

Police SAR teams are working to determine which homes have not yet been assessed and who is still cut off in remote areas of the East Coast, and are helping health teams conduct welfare checks on people with acute needs.

Police have set up a specialist team to reconcile reports of uncontactable people in Cyclone Gabrielle with those who have reported themselves safe.

This includes cross-referencing with people reported safe through evacuation centres, and in-person reports to Police stations.

The priority for Police is to filter out duplicate reports made of uncontactable people, reconcile those reports with those who have reported themselves as safe, and prioritise this information for staff on the ground.

This will help Police staff and other agencies identify those most in need of a welfare check.

"We are urging people who have not yet reported themselves as safe to do so as soon as possible via the Registering I'm Alive online form, here," a spokesperson said.

"Anyone who has not yet been able to contact someone following the cyclone is also encouraged to make a Person Inquired For report, here.

People who have now been in touch with someone previously reported uncontactable are now urged to update their report via the same link, so we can prioritise those who need the most urgent checks.

As of 2pm today, there have been 4549 reports of uncontactable people registered and 872 reports from people registering that they are safe. Police continue to have serious concerns for several people.

Eight people have been confirmed dead following Cyclone Gabrielle.

This includes two people confirmed dead today, in Waiohiki and Puketapu.

As with any significant event of this nature, it is standard practice for emergency and responding services to give consideration to how best to deal with casualties or fatalities.

Temporary facilities have been set up at the port in Napier and Hawke's Bay Hospital in Hastings.

The facilities have been established as a precaution to ensure that any fatalities can be managed with care and respect, and in accordance with Coronial processes.

They are held there before being taken to a mortuary.

8:30pm - The SH2 Hawke's Bay Expressway is now open from Bayview through to Pakipaki.

This is the final section of the expressway that remained closed for an additional 24 hours due to damage and debris affecting safe passage in both directions.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency journey manager for Hawke's Bay, Andre Taylor, says this opens up a key freight link to Napier.

"It also allows critical lifelines and infrastructure to support the region. Temporary speed restrictions remain in place for some sections of the expressway and road users are reminded to delay their travel if they can.

"We expect to see a high volume of goods and services vehicle using this route, to support the Napier residents.

"Our contractors and engineering teams have worked tirelessly to get the expressway open and the entire Hawkes Bay community is grateful for their continued efforts."

Please ensure you check the latest weather conditions with MetService, and consult the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner for the most up-to-date information on road closures.

8:05pm - The Gisborne District Council has issued an update to residents amid its water crisis, asking them to "please restrict use as much as possible".

"You can only use water for drinking, short showers and food preparation," a spokesperson said.

"We are resolving the issues at Waipaoa Treatment Plant but it is going to take longer than anticipated."

They added the water is safe to drink.

"You don't need to boil it. It is treated water to NZ drinking water standards."

There will be an update tomorrow.

6:35pm - Emergency Management is warning people about accidental carbon monoxide poisoning which is known to be more common after long-term power outages.

How to be safe from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning:

  • Do be paranoid. The only symptom of CO poisoning is drowsiness – no headache or feeling weird whatsoever. People die, because they stay sitting in the same place not realising they are being poisoned
  • Do not use barbeques indoors
  • Do not use barbeques or generators close to an open window (or door) as the CO can blow in and pool inside
  • Always leave a window, and better still a door open when using a gas camping stove indoors, CO is heavier than air, therefore it pools at floor level, meaning a door will ventilate more effectively than a window
  • In general, be aware that imperfect combustion of gas generates a deadly poison – therefore only use gas appliances which are in perfect condition, as dirt and minor damage can lead to this imperfect combustion situation, increasing the release of carbon monoxide

6:08pm - The press conference has now ended.

6:07pm - Also front of mind for the emergency response team is waste management as power outages mean food will need to be disposed of, Hipkins said.

6:04pm - Hipkins said Jacinda Ardern has sent him a few messages of support but they haven't spoken in great depth.

6:01pm - Hipkins said an injection of funding will be needed into infrastructure - and transport, including rail, will be key ones.

5:59pm - Officials have removed the duplicates from the list of 4549 people reported as uncontactable but it is a dynamic list where people are constantly being added and removed, Hipkins said. He said police have not given a specific number of how many of those people they are concerned about but have said there are "several".

5:57pm - Hipkins said the focus right now is getting a roof over displaced people's heads. He said they are still identifying how many people will be able to return home and will then work with hotels, motels and landlords to find more permanent homes for those who have lost theirs.

5:54pm - In response to the scale of fatalities, Hipkins said "we're not talking huge numbers".

5:52pm - Hipkins said the cyclone has highlighted a weakness in our overall resilience to natural disasters we will have to grapple with.

5:50pm - Temporary bridges are being built to help reestablish some physical connectivity.

5:47pm - Hipkins said he has spoken to people who have lost their homes, people who know families of the victims and people working on the frontline.

"It's an extraordinary time and we are seeing some extraordinary effort by some amazing New Zealanders," Hipkins said.

5:45pm - Webb said more than 700 NZDF personnel deployed and doing tasks assigned by NEMA.

The Army has set up head quarters in Napier and 480 army personnel from Linton and Burnham are on standby.

Webb said they have now reached out to colleagues in Australia to request additional help - including a new aircraft to join our fleet.

5:42pm - Air Commodore Darren Webb offered his condolences to the second firefighter who has died and families who have lost loved ones.

5:40pm - Northland, Gisborne, and Hawke's Bay cell towers are restored to 70 percent for calls and texts.

There is hope that coverage will be restored to 75 percent for calls and text by tomorrow evening. But data will take longer. These towers are being powered by generators.

5:39pm - Power connections are continuing with about 40000 more homes connected. About 62,000 homes are without power.

Work will continue on power bypass to power Napier and that will happen overnight

Hastings is about 90 percent connected, up from 60 percent yesterday. Havelock North is at 95 percent, up from 60 percent

Still many families are worried about loved ones and can't connect, Hipkins said.

5:37pm - Eight people have lost their lives and emergency services hold "grave fears" for others, Hipkins said.

He said 4549 people are reported as uncontactable. A team of 80 are trying to narrow down this list and prioritise contact with people most likely to be missing.

Hipkins can assure people they are using every resource available to search for the missing and specialists from Australia have arrived.

5:36pm - Hipkins said some small communities are still cut off and isolated.

Fuel, food, generators and other supplies are coming in via road, air and sea.

He said communication is returning, but it is patchy and only in some areas.

5:35pm - He said there is still power outages in Napier and evacuation centres are filled with people either staying or coming for a meal.

5:32pm - Hipkins said good progress has been made, but recent activities highlight scale of job ahead. He visited Hawkes Bay and saw the devastation in region.

"It is very rough up there," Hipkins said.

5:30pm - Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is expected to speak to media soon.

5:20pm - Transpower has advised that it has completed the bypass of its flooded Redclyffe substation this afternoon.

"The substation suffered extensive damage during Cyclone Gabrielle and Transpower has been working with Unison Networks to create a bypass for the 220KV high voltage line to enable it to connect to the Whakatu substation north-east of Hastings," Transpower said in a statement.

"Now the bypass is complete, local lines company Unison Networks will start work on progressively restoring power where possible to homes and businesses in Hawke’s Bay. This will include urban parts of Napier and some parts of Hastings."

5:15pm - Countdown said all of its stores are back open following the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle and loads of essential items are arriving at stores every day.

"Today, we've also been able to deliver four pallets of supplies, including water, to our Napier food rescue partner, Nourished for Nil. We’ve secured further stock to support those most impacted in evacuation centres in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne, in addition to the $200,000 we have committed to helping Kiwis get back on their feet," a Countdown spokesperson said in a statement.

"We'll continue to work closely with the National Emergency Management Agency and organisations on the ground to provide support wherever we can."

4:55pm - Waka Kotahi's State Highway repairs – regional snapshot:


Access to Northland has significantly improved today, with only one major closure remaining in place. SH1 Dome Valley has re-opened to traffic today. Access was restored on SH12, SH14, SH15 and SH16 earlier in the week with some restrictions.


Road access to Coromandel has significantly improved with SH25 opening last night, although extreme caution is advised when travelling through this area. Due to multiple slip sites, there are still temporary lane closures in place in various locations, and restrictions for heavy vehicles in sections.

SH2 in the Karangahake Gorge remains open following the clearance of slips, fallen trees and surface flooding.

Hawke's Bay

Access across Hawke's Bay is improving with the Hawke’s Bay Expressway partially opening last night, although localised restrictions and diversions remain in place and caution is advised when travelling through this area.


Significant challenges remain in Gisborne although progress is being made. SH35 around the East Cape Te Puia Springs and between Gisborne to Tolaga Bay is now open with localised restrictions.

4:45pm - Former NZ Kiwis star Issac Luke is mourning the tragic death of father George Luke, who is believed to be the ninth victim of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Police have yet to confirm the death.

Read more here.

4:23pm - Police said they are investigating a death in Puketapu, near Napier, where a person is believed to have died after being caught in flood water.

Formal identification is yet to take place.

The death toll from Cyclone Gabrielle now stands at eight.

Stuff reported the person was a 59-year-old woman. She was reportedly found dead in the roof cavity of her cottage in Puketapu.

Further details will be provided when they become available.4:10pm - Satellite images posted on Twitter by NIWA show East Cape's murky waterways are visible from space after this week's huge river flows in the North Island displaced large amounts of sediment into the sea. 

3:55pm - Here is an update from Auckland Emergency Management:

Auckland Emergency Management’s response to Cyclone Gabrielle continues to focus on isolated communities.

"The weather is expected to remain fairly settled over the next few days, but there is still a risk of further slips," Deputy Controller Rachel Kelleher said.

"It is important to take this risk seriously and to be ready to leave quickly if you need to, particularly if you are in an area prone to slips."

Access to parts of the West Coast, including Muriwai, Piha, Te Henga (Bethells Beach) and Karekare, is severely compromised.

Auckland Council building assessors and geotechnical engineers are concerned about land movement and the risk of further slips in both Muriwai and Piha. Residents of Domain Crescent in Muriwai have been evacuated and cannot return to their homes.

Residents of part of Rayner Road in Piha have been evacuated and their homes red placarded. The remaining Rayner Road homes can only be accessed on foot as Rayner Road has been closed to vehicle traffic in its entirety. 

For safety reasons, Auckland Emergency Management has also temporarily closed five regional parks – Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, Muriwai Regional Park, Ātiu Creek Regional Park, Tāwharanui Regional Park, and the western side of Hunua Ranges, including Hunua Falls.

"If you are not a resident of one of these affected communities, please stay away. It’s important we allow emergency services and council officials to get on with supporting people there. Be prepared to be turned away at cordons if you aren’t a resident.

"Finally, there has been some speculation about an incident on Garden Road in Piha about an alleged dispute between council agencies. To clarify, no dispute occurred."

"Our agencies are working together and, for all of us, our priority is the safety of residents."

Auckland Emergency Management and emergency services are in touch with the isolated households on Garden Road and are working together to remove the water and reopen the road as soon as possible.

"This is a very fluid situation. If you need help, please call Auckland Emergency Management on 0800 22 22 00. If your life is in danger, call 111."

Anyone with damage to their house, or who has slips close to their property, please contact


  • Vector has advised that there are currently approximately 8000 homes without power, down from 16,000 yesterday.  
  • Vector is working closely with authorities to gain access to communities that remain cut off due to road slips and fallen trees and to provide estimated restoration times for those still without power.
  • There is a map on the Vector website, which gives an overview of what to expect within the 12 zones of their network.
  • Counties Energy is reporting 72 properties without power, 95% of outages anticipated to be restored by the end of the day.
  • Please be patient with the crews who are doing everything they can to restore power to customers as quickly and safely as possible.


  • Residents in Wellsford, Helensville and Parakai are still encouraged to use water wisely today.
  • Watercare is working to restore service to these local treatment plants, and is making progress, but the situation has not returned to normal yet.
  • In Muriwai, the water treatment plant remains offline. There is a water tanker outside Sand Dunz Café providing emergency water.


  • There are 12 civil defence centres, shelters and info hubs open.
  • People can charge their phones or use Wi-Fi at their local library and visit our pools or leisure centres to access a shower, as needed.
  • An up-to-date list of where you can go to get help and information is on the Auckland Emergency Management website

Cleaning up after the storm

  • Kerbside collections are back to the normal schedule.
  • Council has also resumed its kerbside collections of flood-damaged items. People can call 0800 22 22 00 to log a request. 
  • If you are removing flood damaged items from your home – please wear rubber gloves, long-sleeved top and trousers and a face mask.
  • If you have sand and sandbags that have been in contact with floodwater, please be aware that the council waste management team is working on a solution to dispose of sandbags in a way that is healthy and environmentally safe.
  • In the meantime, please store your sandbags on your property away from bodies of water and areas where people may come in to contact with them.
  • Don’t leave bags on the kerbside. They will not be collected and could clog up drains and cause further floods. 


  • The weather forecast is for mainly fine weather, but please plan ahead before travelling. Think about your safety and allow extra time.
  • There are currently about 50 roads across the region that remain closed. Go to the Auckland Transport website for more information.
  • We urge Aucklanders to help by continuing to stay away from damaged areas. Access to these areas is compromised.

If you have been affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and need some help, there are support services available. Our website has all the information.

3:40pm - Hawke's Bay Mayors have today reactivated the regional Disaster Relief Trust, making it easy for people from anywhere in New Zealand to donate to the region’s Cyclone Gabrielle recovery effort.

Trustees and Mayors will agree on needs-based criteria for funds distribution in the next day or two and as soon as funds build, they will be distributed.

People wanting to donate can do so to the Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Trust which is 02-0700-0010824-002.

3:30pm - NIWA and Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ are urging North Islanders now at the recovery stage, to air out their flooded homes as soon as possible to prevent harmful build-up of mould.

"Flooded properties are breeding grounds for mould, which can take hold in as little as 48 hours," NIWA Principal Scientist for Air Quality Dr Guy Coulson said in a statement.

"As communities begin the clean-up, the best thing to do is open all doors and windows to let outside air circulate for as long as possible, using a fan if necessary and ideally until everything is dry. This should be done as soon as the water has receded and if safe to do so."

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ said mould in houses can be a health hazard.

"For some people, mould can trigger respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath. Ongoing exposure or exposure to large quantities of mould can cause asthma or worsen existing respiratory conditions.

"The Foundation advises anyone with a respiratory condition, or anyone who is experiencing respiratory symptoms, to keep out of mouldy and flood-damaged homes if possible, and not remove the mould themselves or be present while it is being removed.  

If you can't avoid exposure, then wear eye protection and a respirator mask or a disposable tight-fitting dust mask.  Do not use a fabric face mask, as these do not protect against mould."

3:15pm - Trade Me has teamed up with New Zealand Red Cross to reopen their Kindness Store and help Kiwis support those impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle and the recent flooding, raising over $100,000 so far.

Kiwi can donate $10, $20, $50 or $100 to help provide emergency housing, clothing, food, well-being support. 

To donate click here.

3:10pm - Auckland Transport (AT) is urging Aucklanders to stay away from heavily affected areas like Piha, Muriwai, Karekare, Te Henga Bethells Beach, and parts of the Waitakere Ranges.

"I can't stress enough, these locations are high risk and only residents and emergency services will be given access. The most important thing is for essential supplies and help to get to those who need it," Waitakere Councillor Shane Henderson said in a statement.

"Land especially around our Western beach communities continues to be unstable. Soil saturation remains quite high so there is still a risk of further slips, and any more rain may cause further movement. Remain vigilant.

"It's been a heartbreaking time for many of our communities and the last thing they need is for people coming out to take photos of the devastation."

2:55pm - Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said "New Zealanders are there for us in times of need, and we stand with them in theirs" on Twitter.

A team of Queensland Fire and Emergency experts are heading to New Zealand to assist with the clean-up.

2:50pm - Unison said in a statement as of Friday there are still 37,000 homes without power in Hawke's Bay  (31,700 homes in Napier and 5,300 homes in Hastings).

Unison has been working with Transpower to put in place an emergency solution to bypass the damaged Redclyffe substation and reliven Transpower’s Whakatu substation. This will enable power to be supplied to parts of Napier City and suburbs, the company said in a statement.

Unison has restored power to 39,500 customers since Cyclone Gabrielle hit on Monday night, with power being restored to almost all customers in Taupo and Rotorua.

2:45pm - Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz is relieved the Government has released the $1 million injection, announced on Thursday, into Tairāwhiti's Mayoral Relief Fund.

"This additional funding is hugely appreciated," Stoltz said in a statement. "It will assist us in supporting our community in the massive clean-up effort ahead while also helping our most vulnerable people."

Mayoral relief funds help communities bounce back after an emergency largely because local communities and councils are best placed to understand where the immediate needs are and how to help whānau, community organisations and marae.

Emergency Management Minister Keiran McAnulty says it's too early to know the full cost of the damage.

2:30pm - The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is hosting an online fono on Cyclone Gabrielle this evening.

This is to provide information to support Pacific peoples who are coping with the impacts of the severe weather by keeping them informed and increasing awareness of initiatives, and services available to them, the Ministry said.

You can RSVP by emailing

1:52pm - Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong has announced her country will deploy disaster experts to Aotearoa to assist with the response and recovery of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Minister Wong said Australia's close relationship with Aotearoa "has meant we have been able to mobilise assistance quickly".

"Whether it be as far away as Turkiye or as close as New Zealand, we stand ready to do our part to help our international counterparts in times of distress."

1:14pm - Police have confirmed the name of a man located deceased in floodwaters on his Te Karaka, Gisborne property on Tuesday, 14 February 2023.

He was 64-year-old John Robert Dudley Coates.

Police said their thoughts and condolences are with his whānau and friends.

His death is not considered suspicious and will be referred to the Coroner.

1:11pm - AEM is urging residents of Muriwai on Domain Cres to evacuate immediately following the heightened risk of landslide.

What AEM is urging residents to do: 

  • IMMEDIATELY evacuate.
  • Make their way to the intersection of Domain Cres and Motutara Rd where emergency services will assist
  • Leave on foot, DO NOT DRIVE.
  • Take essential items only, including pets. 
  • Check on neighbours who may need help. If safe to do so. 
  • Share this information if it doesn’t cause delay.
  • Call 111 if they cannot evacuate themselves.

12:58pm - Auckland Emergency Management is set to provide an update on their response to Cyclone Gabrielle.

The livestream is due to start at 1pm and will appear below. 

11:51am - Police have confirmed a seventh death related to Cyclone Gabrielle.

Police say they are investigating a death in Waiohiki, near Napier, who is believed to have died after being caught in flood water.

A police spokesperson said formal identification is yet to take place.

11:48am - Muriwai residents living on Domain Cres have been advised by Auckland Emergency Management to evacuate immediately.

11:29am - Newshub Live at 11:30am will have the latest on the Gisborne water emergency. You can watch the bulletin in the video above.

11:10am - Gisborne has been issued an immediate stop water notice after its water treatment plant failed, according to MP for East Coast Kiri Allan.

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence said, "this is a major crisis our city has no water. Don't turn your tap on".

"We are not getting any water into the city's reservoirs. Stop now."

In an emergency alert sent to residents, the council said "timing for repairs [is] unknown". 

Cyclone Gabrielle: Latest on Cyclone Gabrielle - Friday, February 17

It comes after the Gisborne District Council said the region's water situation is "critical".

11:03am - In some better news, Transpower says it will bypass the flooded substation near Taradale this evening. 

In a statement, Transpower said the Redclyffe substation suffered "extensive damage" following Cyclone Gabrielle. 

"Transpower has been working with Unison Networks to create a bypass for the 220KV high voltage line to enable it to connect to the Whakatu substation north-east of Hastings."

Transpower said once the bypass is complete, lines company Unison Networks will begin to restore power to "some but not all homes and businesses in Hawke's Bay... Including urban parts of Napier and some remaining areas of Hastings such as Clive, Te Awanga and Whakatu. This work is expected to take place from Saturday", Transpower said. 

Transpower's full statement:

"We have also continued to increase the amount of power available to local lines companies in the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle, with 104MW of power now available across the region (enough to power around 104,000 homes). We are grateful to Genesis Energy for providing additional generation and technical support at Tuai to achieve this."

"Unison Networks advises there are 37,400 homes and businesses without power in Hawke’s Bay, with 31,630 of these from Napier which is the area most impacted by the loss of the Redclyffe substation."

"Eastland Network advises there are 4,500 homes and businesses without power in Tairāwhiti, including more than 1,600 in Wairoa."

"There continue to be logistical challenges in restoring power in the region as a result of damage to roading, significant debris and damaged communications networks. We are grateful to all those throughout the electricity industry who have worked together through these challenges to get this bypass in place."

"The industry has also worked hard to support local lines companies in other parts of the country such as Northland, Auckland, Waikato and the Coromandel where there are still power outages as a result of damage to local lines company infrastructure. The national transmission grid is fully operational in those areas."

"Our thoughts continue to be with all those who have been impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle and are further impacted by the loss of power."

"We assure them that our people, our service providers, local lines companies and others in the industry continue to work tirelessly to get as much power restored into the area as quickly as possible."

10:21am - A long line of traffic has built along State Highway 2 between Napier and Hastings.

Images show cars bumper to bumper for as far as the eye can see.

Cyclone Gabrielle: Latest on Cyclone Gabrielle - Friday, February 17
Photo credit: Newshub
Cyclone Gabrielle: Latest on Cyclone Gabrielle - Friday, February 17
Photo credit: Newshub

10:11am - Tairāwhiti Civil Defence says "power is back on for most people".

In a Facebook post, Eastland Network said it had restored 2100 customers without power on Friday morning, including 1000 in Wairoa.

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence said the internet is out for most residents in the region, but Chorus has made "good progress" in identifying issues.

It added a Starlink wifi station has been set up at Lawson Field Theatre for residents to use between 8am and 8pm. 

9:25am - Napier Port has set up a temporary morgue as the Art Deco city comes to terms with the devastating impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Napier Port's chief executive Todd Dawson told Stuff the temporary morgue is to help with the response to the catastrophic flooding.

"The army and police are set up at the port and part of that is a temporary mortuary," he said.

Dawson added the port, based in Ahuriri, was asked by New Zealand Defence Force and police to provide support because the port was mostly unscathed by Cyclone Gabrielle.

He told Stuff the port had backup generators and refrigeration.

9:10am - Cyclone Gabrielle has reportedly claimed a seventh life. Stuff reports a man's body was found in Waiohiki in Hawke's Bay on Thursday. 

The man is believed to be in his 70s.

8:51am - MetService says Aotearoa is in line for a string of much-needed settled weather as Cyclone Gabrielle move off our shores.

A satellite image shows "plenty of green" which means "plenty of blue skies from the ground", the forecaster says.

8:10am - The Gisborne District Council says residents have failed to conserve after Cyclone Gabrielle destroyed its water network.

The council says the water situation in the region remains "critical" and the reality of the taps running dry "looms large".

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence controller Ben Green says it is "vital" residents conserve water as the city's reserve supply is "critically low".

"Despite warnings to save water we’re still using more than we can make available. Unless we reduce our use scheduled shut-off periods will have to be implemented," Green said.

"That sounds tough but the alternative is worse."

7:50am - Minister for Immigration Michael Wood says he's sought urgent advice to guarantee Aotearoa has the workforce to build back from Cyclone Gabrielle.

"We are going to have a rebuild across a number of regions. It's going to be people, it's going to be plant, it's going to be expertise. It will be a whole of Government effort to make sure we do what needs to be done."

Wood told AM the Government will "pull every lever we possibly can" to ensure a strong rebuild for many devastated communities.

"New Zealand can have our absolute commitment, that's what we'll do."

National Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says before Cyclone Gabrielle Aotearoa was already in dire need of workers. 

She says Cyclone Gabrielle has only exacerbated the need and is calling for the Government to cut "the bureaucratic tape".

"We need to rely on something that already exists like a special purpose visa. Which is a three-year visa. You don't need a job token, we don't need to do a job check, we don't need to have employers being accredited. Cut all that out."

And Wood agreed but is awaiting advice from officials.

"People can be rest assured we will use every tool and pull every lever to support the rebuild."

7:24am - Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor will travel to Northland on Friday to meet farmers and growers devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle.

O'Connor will the visit Whangārei and Dargaville regions.

7:15am - Speaking to AM, East Coast MP Kiri Allan says the opening of SH2 allowed 20 trucks loaded with food to enter the region.

Allan said the widespread damage across Gisborne is incomprehensible, and as she's surveyed the damage, she told AM the scenes have taken a toll on her spirit.

The East Coast-based MP says she is eager to get further up the coast, adding she's heard from some whānau and friends, but not all.

She added rescue helicopter teams have flown into almost every rural home over the past two days to provide medication, updates and communication.

"Some people were just stoked to see human beings outside of their own family."

6:45am - Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz says SH2 north of the city will open to the public on Saturday or Sunday.

"That's great news so people can plan to get in and out," she told AM. 

Stoltz says "things are starting to look up a bit" for the region with critical supplies being brought into Gisborne by convoy.

"At this stage what we're looking for are the real basics. So it is water, we are also receiving Starlinks and satellite communication. So it's all those basics that we need here."

She said two convoys came through the region on Thursday and another is expected on Friday morning.  

Stoltz told AM while communication is limited, "heartbreaking" stories are already emerging of residents doing it tough.

"As we connect up more and more today I'm sure we will hear more of those stories of people."

6:30am - An already sodden Gisborne was hit by heavy rain overnight. Newshub reporter Alice Wilkins is in Gisborne and told AM the rain has passed, but it was an unwelcome sight for residents.

"So far today we are looking OK early on, but there will be a real sense of concern and worry for anyone around here who already has damage to their properties and already has slips."

6:15am - Power remains out in Napier and Civil Defence have confirmed it will remain that way "for a period of time".

"Be prepared for no power for an extended period of time."

The lack of power is only just one issue the region is facing, Civil Defence says they are battling misinformation around road closures, washed-out bridges and trapped people.

AM host Ryan Bridge told AM Civil Defence is urging people to only follow official channels for official advice.

6am - The Napier-Hastings Expressway (State Highway 2) on Thursday night reopened for emergency services and essential travel only.

"Both north and south bound lanes will be opened. [The] SH51 link between Napier and Hastings is also open for emergency service vehicles and workers only," Hawke's Bay Civil Defence said.

5:45am - Below is MetService's short forecast for Friday:

The upper North Island from Taumarunui and Taupō northwards including Gisborne and Hawke's Bay

Scattered showers south of Hamilton clearing on Friday morning and becoming mostly fine throughout. However, isolated showers persist about the Northland, Hawke's Bay and Gisborne coasts.

Remaining North Island areas

A few showers, mainly Wellington and Wairarapa, but fine spells increasing.

Marlborough and Canterbury

Cloudy periods and isolated showers.

Nelson and Buller

Mainly fine. Isolated showers about the ranges from afternoon, then becoming cloudy on Friday evening.

Westland and Fiordland

Mainly fine. Isolated showers about the Westland ranges on Friday afternoon and evening.

Southland and Otago

Fine in central Otago. Cloudy with light showers elsewhere, then fine breaks developing late morning.

Chatham Islands

Low cloud and occasional drizzle, becoming showers from afternoon.

5:30am - Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is set to travel to flood-stricken Hawke's Bay on Friday. 

Hipkins will meet with impacted residents, volunteers on the ground and local officials. 

He'll also get a first hand look at some of the hardest hit areas. 

Gisborne District Mayor Rehette Stoltz has said having Hipkins in Tairāwhiti on Thursday was a huge help.

5:15am - The firefighter who was rescued from a collapsed house in Auckland's Muriwai earlier this week has died from his injuries.

Craig Stevens was rescued after he and another firefighter, Dave van Zwanenberg, became trapped in a slip while investigating flooding at a house on Motutara Rd. Van Zwanenberg was also killed in the slip.

On Thursday night, Fire and Emergency New Zealand confirmed Stevens had died in hospital.

"All of Fire and Emergency will feel his loss, and my heart goes out to his family," chief executive Kerry Gregory said in a statement.

Craig Stevens.
Craig Stevens. Photo credit: Supplied
Dave van Zwanenberg.
Dave van Zwanenberg. Photo credit: Supplied