Weather: Canterbury farmers relieved state of emergency declared following widespread flooding

A mid-Canterbury farmer is relieved a state of emergency has been declared, saying there are a lot of serious issues to play out over the course of the day.

David Clark, who is the president of Federated Farmers for the region, said his day began at 4.30am helping to rescue passengers trapped in a car that had been swept away by floodwaters.

"Fire and Emergency weren't able to get [there] the occupants had been swept off the road so fortunately managed to get out to them with one of our large tractors and broke the windows and get the people out."

He also assisted with the rescue of a farmer stuck in his tractor.

"He went through the floodwaters to try and get the stock that were marooned. He then, within 10 minutes, tried to get back again and the water got into the electrics of the tractor and caused the engine to stop, leaving him marooned in a very swift flow of water requiring a triple-1 call."

Clark said neighbours managed to help him before emergency services arrived.

He said the rainfall has far exceeded what was forecast, with stopbanks breaching and hefty surface flooding.

"Anyone look at yesterday's forecast would have said that's extreme - risking an over-exaggeration - [but] the event that we've ended up with has been far exceeding that and that's what has caught a lot of people out.

"There's water in places that there wasn't expected to be water, there's stopbanks that are breaching that wasn't expected to occur, so look a very dangerous situation.

"We need it to stop raining and it hasn't done so yet."

Meanwhile, David Acland who farms 3800 hectares at Mount Somers at the foothills of mid-Canterbury, south of Mount Hutt ski field said the rivers on his southern boundary had breached and there was significant surface flooding.

He said 13 workers were helping to move sheep, beef and deer stocks to higher ground.

"We have got a couple of areas we can't access on the property with a couple of mobs of animals. They'll be happy enough where they are for the time being but by tomorrow we'll need to figure out a way to access them.

"Hopefully the water levels drop and we can do it safely in tractors."