Christmas lunch preparations were thrown into turmoil for
hundreds of families when a car crash cut power to 500
A three-car collision knocked out power in the Athenree,
Tahawai and Tanners Point areas for several hours on
Three vehicles travelling north, toward Auckland, were
involved in a collision at Tuapiro Rd at 10.15am.
No one was seriously hurt but a female driver was taken to
Tauranga Hospital to be checked.
Powerco said it was able to restore supply to most customers
by 11.25am but around 50 customers remained powerless until
the power pole was replaced.
Richard Fullerton-Smith, who called 111 after the crash
outside his home, said he had been planning Christmas dinner
for himself and his mother, sister and nephews when they lost
"We heard it bang here, then another one going bang, bang,
"I knew there must have been an accident," he said.
Mr Fullerton-Smith had been watching television when the
power was cut. He said a petrol generator usually used for
frost control helped keep power going for a short while "but
it's really only enough to boil the jug".
"So I'm going to get some gas from my neighbours and get my
barbecue bottle and cook all my veges on the barbecue in a
big pot," he said.
Mr Fullerton-Smith said the power outage had put a dampener
on the day.
"It's wrecked everybody's Christmas.
"All these poor people, it's wrecked that," Mr
Fullerton-Smith said, referring to residents without power.
Western Bay of Plenty road policing Sergeant Wayne Hunter
said a car waiting to turn right into Tuapiro Rd, north of
Katikati, was hit hard by a car following it.
The driver of a campervan travelling behind the second
vehicle was forced to brake and swerve to avoid the
collision, Mr Hunter said.
The driver lost control of the campervan, which spun 180
degrees and left the road, crashing into a power pole.
Lines were down along the side of the road for at least an
Emergency services monitored traffic while working to clear
the road of the wreckage.
Mr Hunter said the traffic was surprisingly heavy for
Christmas Day and it was fortunate the lines were not down
across the highway.
"I've seen a lot of Christmas presents in these cars going
past, so there's a lot of people going places for their
Christmas," Mr Hunter said.
The driver of one vehicle had been travelling to Auckland to
catch a 2pm flight to Australia, he said.
Another driver lived down Tuapiro Rd while the occupants of
the campervan were visitors.
A fourth vehicle travelling south was clipped by one of the
cars during the collision but was not badly damaged.
- By Kiri Gillespie of the Bay of Plenty Times