Cyclone Gita - Update from the Recovery Manager 16 March

Read the latest from the Recovery Manager, plus details of increasing access to SH60 over Takaka Hill.

Cyclone Gita Information - Update from the Recovery Manager

Friday 16 March 2018

This page will be updated regularly with recovery information about Cyclone Gita. Information can change quickly, so please check back regularly.

Recover Manager Update 16 March

The Mayor has acted as an advocate to various Ministries for support to local communities and businesses.

  • $20,000 has been given to the Mayoral Relief Fund by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.
  • $80,000 has been given to Council by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment to assist affected businesses in the District.

We have  agreed to work with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) on providing assistance through Enhanced Task Force Green. It is hoped to get the teams “on the ground” as soon as possible. A governance group consisting of Council, Rural Support Trust, MSD and the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) will prioritise where this labour is used is used.

Welfare support continues to be given to those that require it. The use of “Navigators” – people who assist those in need to obtain support continues. Where appropriate welfare staff are working with other agencies such as MSD and the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board to ensure the correct type of support is being provided.


We’re working on the following priorities at the moment:

Riwaka Valley Road

As of (Saturday 17 March) there will be no restricted access times into Riwaka Valley Road. Some work still needs to completed and great caution must be exercised. Some access will be controlled by temporary traffic lights and/or stop/go boards.  Please still be very cautious when using the road, follow instructions from crews and use 4WD where possible.  Roadworks will be continuing for about two weeks.

Brooklyn Valley

Still some serious work to be carried out. Large scale damage across many infrastructure assets. About four weeks work remaining’

Little Sydney

Clean-up of silt underway, almost completed in Swamp Road.

Swamp Road, Dehra Doon Road: 

Work completed

Motueka Valley Road:

Work progressing well but another two weeks to complete.

Motueka West Bank

Looking good, culvert and water table cleaning progressing.  Estimate another two week’s work.

Graham Valley Road

Dangerous overhang will be blasted this weekend and then clearance work will commence.

Marahau Sandy Bay Road

This road will be closed for another two weeks for safety reasons i.e. to allow for tree removal and clean-up of slips.

Takaka Hill, State Highway 60 Update – increasing access to Golden Bay

The NZ Transport Agency says access to Takaka and Golden Bay via Takaka Hill Road, SH60, will be increased from this Wednesday (14 March.)

Since the aftermath of ex-tropical-cyclone Gita, the hill road has been open to restricted convoys morning and evening (7-8 am and 5-6 pm) and Sunday daytime hours, 8 am to 5 pm.

“We understand how vital this road is as a lifeline for people in Golden Bay, and we are doing everything possible to improve access,” says Frank Porter, Transport Agency System Manager.

“We need to balance the need to keep the road open as much as possible with the need to fully rebuild it.”

An extra hour morning and evening Monday to Saturday

As of this Wednesday 14 March, the open hours for Takaka Hill road are extending by an hour each morning and evening, ie 6-8am and 5-7pm.

  • The Sunday 8am to 5pm open hours remain the same.

Lunchtime permitted convoys continue, with commercial passenger transport included this week

“The lunchtime essential freight convoy with daily permits continues,” says Mr Porter.

“We are also pleased to allow commercial bus and shuttle services to make the lunchtime trip as of this week, so long as they comply with the length restrictions.

“This will ease up access for some people who want to travel out of Golden Bay at lunchtime and come back in the evening on the same public passenger service.”

Other easing of restrictions - a way to get bikes over the hill

While pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed to travel by foot or cycle over the hill, people can arrange bike transport through local bus or transport services, to get them over through the convoy system.

Cars or vans towing caravans, trailers and boats can now travel over morning and evening Monday to Saturday, and any time 8am – 5pm Sunday. The length of the object being towed is the only qualification on that easing.

  • Trailers/boats/caravans of 7 metres or more in length may not be allowed over the hill.
  • All travel is still by escorted convoy only.
  • Trucks towing trailers are not permitted on the hill at this stage.
  • Over-dimension or over width units or large coaches are not permitted.

What our crews have achieved so far

Transport Agency crews are working hard to widen the road around some of the tight bends that are currently not wide enough for truck and trailer units, says Mr Porter. “We are also surfacing sections of the road damaged in the storm, complete retaining wall repairs, repair and install new culverts and drains, and install safety barriers.

“We are installing electronic sign boards in Takaka, Upper Takaka, Rai township, Murchison and Richmond to help keep people updated as to the status of the Takaka Hill road.”

also reminded drivers that crews are unable to give priority to some people in the queue over others.  “We will work to get everyone waiting over, and our crews are there to get people over as quickly as is safely possible. If it is urgent, arrive on time.”

Traffic and travel pages for convoy information which will be updated when arrangements change:

Other transport options include:

  • Local commercial air operators are still running services for those who want to fly into or out of Takaka.
  • As the road to Totaranui is open, there are also commercial options for leaving Golden Bay by boat.

A safe parking area for vehicles that must be left in Golden Bay temporarily has been established at the A&P Showgrounds in Takaka.

Support and Assistance

Support Handouts

Information about different agencies and assistance: 

Recovery Team

We have established a dedicated group of staff to oversee recovery. Please contact the team if you would like to be added to the email list for updates.

Contact the recovery team

Rates Relief

The Council has a policy allowing it to consider rates remissions for properties severely affected by a natural disaster. If your home or other buildings have been rendered uninhabitable and you cannot continue to use your land as a result of natural disaster, you may be eligible.

View the Policy and Download an Application Form

Rural Support Trust – a free service

Anyone in a rural area who feels they need support can also contact the Rural Support Trust for a confidential chat on 0800 787 254. The service is free.

Financial Assistance – Call Work and Income

If you are facing financial hardship from additional costs or loss of income as a result of the event, give Work and Income a call on 0800 559 009. 
Everyone’s circumstances are different so the type of assistance available varies from case to case. If you are already receiving a benefit or superannuation then Work and Income might need to review what you’re currently receiving or check what else you might be entitled to. 
You may also be eligible for a billeting payment if you are looking after friends or family who can’t get home. You don’t have to be on a benefit to qualify for financial assistance, although most assistance is income and asset test. 
You can phone Work and Income on 0800 559 009 or if you’re receiving NZ Super, phone 0800 552 002.

EQC for land and damage claims

EQC is encouraging homeowners to lodge a claim if their property has been damaged as ex-Cyclone Gita crosses the country.

Homeowners have three months from when the damage occurred to lodge a claim.

EQC covers storm and flood damage to residential land only, with home and contents damage covered by private insurance according to the terms of an individual’s policy. 

Claims can be lodged online, via email on,  or by calling 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243). The EQC call centre is open 7am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 6pm on Saturdays.

Cyclone debris disposal

The Council is providing a means of removing the silt and other flood debris from residential properties affected by Cyclone Gita free of charge.

The booking of the removal will be facilitated by Motueka Community Board member Barry Dowler on behalf of the Council. Property owners who wish to use this service can start the process by ringing the Council on 03 543 8400.

Barry will call, or visit, the landowner shortly after to assess the silt and vegetation debris and arrange a time for removal by contractors.

For the load to be accepted it must only contain silt and vegetation debris from the flood within 8 metres of the dwelling. No household rubbish or other material will be accepted.

 You will have make your own arrangements for removal of this debris.

For green and woodwaste only

Also from Saturday 3 March for the month, the Council’s Mariri Resource Recovery Centre will be accepting free of charge clean woodwaste and greenwaste from properties affected by flooding from Cyclone Gita.

Council’s greenwaste contractor, Azwood Ltd, has agreed to process this material without cost. 

There are a few requirements for the material to be accepted:

  • The material will need to be generally clean and free stones and gravel
  • All loads will need to be weighed on site, so that we can account for the quantity delivered
  • Customers need to confirm that the material is a result of Cyclone Gita, give their vehicle number plate, name and address details to the kiosk operator at the Mariri Resource Recovery Centre.

Large spoil disposal

For large spoil removal, individuals need to make contact with a contractor. That contractor can make arrangements with the companies below for disposal of the spoil material. There is no public access to disposal sites.


  • C.J. Industries 03 528 4466 (Colin Eggers)
  • Concrete and Metal 03 528 6344 (Alister)  

Both these firms will accept bulk loads of spoil (no domestic rubbish) from recognised contractors.  Any fees are to be negotiated. The public are also asked not to dump spoil on clean roads.

Golden Bay Rubbish Collections

A sincere thanks to all our customers for their efforts in reduce waste – and to the truck drivers and collectors for helping us keep this service running well. It has made a big difference.

  • Takaka and Collingwood Resource Recovery Centres are open for business for all customers
  • Normal kerbside rubbish and recycling collections are taking place
  • We’ll be pre-positioning trucks in the bay on Sunday evenings. Collections will start from 7am – this might be earlier than normal so please have your bin out on time.

Drinking Water Advice

There are no temporary boil water advisories on the Council's water supplies due to the storm. All of the urban water supplies are functioning as normal. Dovedale is the only water supply with any damage.

If you have a private system (well or bore) and have had any floodwaters through your property, we suggest you boil your water.

Emergency Treatment of Private Water Tanks

If you have a private water tank that may have become contaminated during the storm, you can chlorinate the water as an emergency treatment measure to ensure it is safe to drink.

Water Supplies

Riwaka Water

Water is available from a tap on the east side of the Tennis Pavilion at the Riwaka Memorial Reserve, 526 Main Road, Riwaka.

Dovedale Water

The supply is now running well. Residents are reminded that Dovedale has a permanent boil water notice. You must always boil any water for household use, such as drinking or brushing teeth, unless you treat it via another method, such as UV.

Report leaks

If you spot a leak, please ring the usual number: 03 543 8400.

Local Roads

Kaituna Bridge repairs

We're awaiting the arrival of the specialist machinery and equipment to repair the bridge’s sunken middle pier.

The bridge is currently safe for pedestrians and cyclists to cross but remains closed for vehicle access.

In the meantime, three property owners have provided access through their farms for locals. It is hoped materials and equipment will arrive from 19 March. It will take up to five weeks to repair the bridge.

During repairs, there will be some restrictions for pedestrians and cyclists. Please obey any signage and help the crew get this work done quickly.

Marahau gate to close

To allow clearing of trees and debris, the gate at the top of the Marahau Hill (Marahau end of Riwaka-Sandy Bay Road) will be closed for the next two weeks.

This will mean no access is possible (including for residents) while this important safety work is completed. There will be a clear road closure set up at the Riwaka end of the road.

During this time, dump trucks, diggers and skidders will be moving up and down the road. At night logging trucks will be carting out of the forest at Marahau (including during the weekends).

Roads Closed and not available for any travel

  • Cobb Dam Road (Golden Bay)

Roads Closed to general public – but open to Residents and approved vehicles only. 

Anyone else needing access should phone the Council.

  • Brooklyn/Old Mill/Little Sydney/Motueka River West Bank area (up to Rocky River Road)
  • Carter Road (Golden Bay). Alternative access through private farm only for residents and service vehicles

Roads Closed and only available for emergency/urgent travel by prior arrangement.

  • Riwaka-Sandy Bay Road.  Anyone requiring access should phone the Council

Roads Open but care required due to damage and ongoing repairs

  • Riwaka Valley Road – Cleanup crews continue to work here. Extreme caution required
  • Motueka Valley Highway
  • Motueka River West Bank Road (above Rocky River)
  • Dovedale Road
  • Rosedale Road
  • Numerous roads in Marahau, Riwaka, Motueka Valley, Dovedale and Lower Moutere areas.

Please no sightseeing - Obey Signs

Roading crews are having issues with sightseers, tourists, cyclists and other non-residents in the Motueka Valley Highway area ignoring road closure signs and driving across undermined roads and bridges.

Please stop sightseeing and let the crews get on with the clean up.

Other Updates

Cellular Connectivity Update

Spark has provided a mobile cellsite in Marahau. This will be in place at Sandy Bay to improve connectivity in this area.

Marahau Update

The road in remains via Kaiteriteri. Please slow down on this road.

Abel Tasman Open for Business

DOC wishes to inform local and tourists that the Abel Tasman national park is open (up to Totaranui).

Dealing with Flood Risks

Cleaning Up

Household items (personal effects -flood damaged furniture, carpetetc)
  • Take photos of damage and debris.
  • Call your insurance company - they will advise either to dump & claim expenses or may supply a skip bin / clean up service.
  • Hold on to any receipts from transfer station, to send on to insurance company for reimbursement.

Information on Cleaning Up After a Flood

Repairing Flood Damaged Buildings

Navigation Notices

Following Cyclone Gita there is extensive floating debris in the waters of Tasman Bay. Mariners are requested to be extremely vigilant in these waters given that much of the debris (such as logs) can be hidden and submerged.

Related Links