The Bay of Plenty township of Taneatua, 13km south of
Whakatane, has been cut off by rising rivers tonight.
The Taneatua Highway was closed and State Highway 2 in the
Pekatahi Bridge area is also closed. Waimana and Ruatoki
Valley are cut off and these communities would remain
isolated while river levels are high, said Civil Defence
Controller David Bewley.
SH35 east of Opotiki was also closed as high seas overtopped
the road at Hawai, Te Kaha and Waihau Bay.
People should avoid any unnecessary travel and if they do
have to travel to drive with care, Mr Bewley said.
High tide had passed in Opotiki and it appeared that water
has receded by 300mm at the Opotiki Wharf, which alongside
the stopbank at Volkners Reserve were sandbagged as a
Opotiki's sewage problem was now resolved but parents were
cautioned to keep children out of water.
Health authorities warned people should also avoid swimming
and recreational activities in all rivers, streams and
harbours for 48 hours as farm runoff may have contaminated
The Whakatane River is expected to peak at 10pm, which affect
the ability of water to exit from canals and rivers, adding
to the overtopping of canals onto low lying areas.
Power has been restored to all areas in the district apart
from Matata where people are asked to conserve water to allow
the reservoirs to refill.
Residents in Edgecumbe were also asked to conserve water by
avoiding flushing toilers, showering or using dishwashers, as
there are infiltration problems with the wastewater system.