Parts of the West Coast and top of the South Island have been cut off due to flooding, while states of emergency have been declared in Marlborough and Buller.

No captionPhoto: SUPPLIED/ Marlborough District Council



Hundreds of people in Marlborough and Buller were evacuated today, joining hundreds who were evacuated on Friday night and must spend another night away from their homes.

Picton is now cut off from the rest of the South Island, the latest town to be cut off as flooding and high river levels leaves roads impassable.

The Transport Agency says Westport, Tākaka, Collingwood, Murchison, Springs Junction and Nelson are also isolated due to the current weather conditions.

Here is a summary of what is happening in each area.

Four areas of Marlborough evacuated

Marlborough recorded its largest flooding event in history today – far bigger than the previous biggest event in 1983.

Marlborough District Council declared a local state of emergency this afternoon, to ensure it has the resources to evacuate hundreds of properties.

In total, 900 people were evacuated from over 500 properties across the region, deputy mayor Nadine Taylor said.

Hundreds of residents in part of the Lower Wairau were advised to evacuate, due to a stop bank breach near Ferry Rd bridge.

An evacuation centre has been set up at the Rarangi Fire Station.

All of Spring Creek township, near Blenheim, has also been told to evacuate.

Around 400 people live in Spring Creek, and there are 162 properties.

The Tuamarina township was also evacuated.

The council has also told residents of the Renwick Lower Terrace to leave their homes, as water flows over the stop bank at Conders Bend.

Council teams are going door to door telling people to leave.

The council is advising people to seek accommodation with family or friends, and to call the council is they have nowhere to go.

The bridge at Bartlett’s Creek has also washed out, isolating 25 rural properties.

No captionPhoto: SUPPLIED/ Marlborough District Council



Marlborough residents are being asked to stay home and avoid travel, because more than 20 roads in the region are closed with flooding, slips and fallen trees.

The council is advising people in Wairau Valley township to boil their water.

Near Picton, State Highway 1 is closed to Spring Creek due to flooding and a slip, making Picton the latest town to be cut off.

State Highway 63 from west of Renwick, and Queen Charlotte Drive are among other roads in the region that are currently closed.

Buller red warning remains in place

No captionThe army has helped evacuate people from their flooded homes in Buller. Photo: NZ DEFENCE FORCE


The red warning for heavy rainfall in Buller has been extended until 3am Sunday. Red warnings are reserved for the most severe weather events and require immediate action.

The Buller District is in a state of emergency as rain hammers the region.

The Buller River burst its banks today and joined up with the Orowaiti River to the north, turning Westport in to an island.

Westport evacuated a further 60 homes late this afternoon due to rising flood waters.

The latest households forced to flee are on Brougham Street and Eastons Road near the Orowaiti lagoon.

High tide was due at 4.15pm, but so far there have been no reports of any further flooding in the town.

Police and emergency teams door-knocked in the affected areas to speed evacuations.

The council said on Saturday evening that river levels were continuing to rise slowly and Westport residents who have not yet been evacuated should have received a mobile electronic alert to shelter in place.

Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine has appealed to Buller residents to stay calm, look after themselves and their neighbours.

No captionDefence Force officers helping evacuate a child in Buller. Photo: NZ DEFENCE FORCE


Evacuated residents were told to take their emergency supplies and flee to friends or family on higher ground.

There are also community evacuation centres being set up at:

  • Phelan Hall, enter off Queen St by the Catholic Church
  • St Canices School, corner of Derby and Brougham Streets – use the Derby St entrance
  • Westport South School, 165 Derby St – use the Derby St entrance.
  • Salvation Army, 20 Henley St

Eight hundred Westport residents were evacuated last night, and the council says they are advised to stay another night with family and friends or at community welfare centres.

Local Controller Bob Dickson advises that the river conditions are still extremely high and dangerous.

No captionA flooded house in Buller today. Photo: NZ DEFENCE FORCE


Deputy mayor Sharon Roche said it appeared a large number of homes have had water inside them.

MetService said further flooding was likely in some areas today, as are slips, and some communities could become isolated.

State Highway 67 Buller Bridge and State Highway 6 along the Coast Road, which were closed earlier in the day, are now open.

Several other roads are down to one lane due to minor slips or surface flooding.

The Transport Agency is urging people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

Wellington roads closed

No captionHeavy rain in Wellington today. Photo: Caitlin Cherry/ RNZ



State Highway 2 has been closed northbound between Ngauranga and Petone due to flooding across the highway.

Motorists have been told to detour through State Highway 1 and State Highway 58.

State Highway 2 is also closed until further notice at the Remutaka Hill Road north of Wellington.

There are no detours between Featherston and Upper Hutt.

State Highway 1 north of Wellington, at Centenial Highway between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki, is facing big delays with a slip covering much of the road.

And a burst wastewater pipe is also causing delays northbound on the highway at Paremata, with one lane closed.

The wastewater has leaked into a school, and authorities are cordoning off the area.

Meanwhile, several properties in the Wellington suburb of Newlands had to be evacuated this afternoon after a slip.

The Fire Service was called to a house on Ladbrooke Drive at around 2.15pm.

It says nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution, and a evacuation centre has been set up at a marae on the street.

Wellington City Council received more than 20 calls about flooding on roads and at private properties today.

Trees have fallen onto roads, including Lambton Quay in the central city, as winds reached 130 km/h overnight.

Wastewater overflow could cause issues at the Moa Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, with people told they should stay out of the sea for the next two days.

Drivers heading north from the capital could encounter surface flooding with big swells around Paekakariki.

In Wairarapa, a conservatory was damaged by high winds and a tree fell over a driveway.

Firefighters and councils have also been responding to sparking powerlines and uprooted trees.

Greytown and Featherston residents are being asked to limit their water use, as heavy rainfall has caused the supply to go cloudy.

Canterbury rivers run high

Environment Canterbury has issued a flood warning, with rivers in the region running high.

It said heavy rain had fallen along the main divide overnight, flowing into the Ashburton, Selwyn and Ashley catchments.

The Orari River is rising and engineering staff will monitor it during the day to make sure areas where repair work was carried out after the flood in May have stood up to the increased flow.

The Rangitata River is expected to keep rising during the day and the Ashburton River is running high and has overflowed in the North Branch into areas affected by the recent flood.

Landowners adjacent to Canterbury rivers are being advised to monitor the situation for flooding and take action sooner rather than later.

Further north

Red warning for heavy rain in parts of Westland and Buller.MetService has issued heavy rain watches and warnings for much of the country today. Photo: MetService

A heavy rain warning has been issued for Bay of Plenty and Gisborne.

Between 70 and 100 mm of rain is expected this afternoon and evening.

North to northwest winds may approach severe gale in exposed places.

MetService said streams and rivers could rise rapidly, driving could be hazardous and surface flooding and slips were possible.

Downed powerlines and a fallen tree are blocking State Highway 43 in Taranaki.

The road is closed near the intersection with Crown Rd. Emergency services and Powerco are at the scene.

Flight disruptions

The turbulent weather is causing significant flight disruptions across Air New Zealand’s domestic network.

The national carrier says Wellington, New Plymouth and Nelson are the worst affected.

Multiple regional flights using turbo-prop aircraft have been cancelled or significantly delayed, which will impact the schedule until tomorrow.

Disrupted customers are being offered road transportation where possible and Air New Zealand is adding additional services to its schedule tomorrow.

Jet Star services are operating largely as normal, but with some delays in and out of Auckland.