Some Central Otago orchardists yesterday used helicopters to
help dry off their rain-affected cherry crops.
Cromwell's 45 South general manager Tim Jones and Earnscleugh
orchardist Harry Roberts both confirmed they resorted to
using helicopter rotor wash to save the precious fruit.
But they were quick to add the rain was not a disaster for
their crops as there was some wind to help dry fruit between
showers and temperatures were cool.
Summerfruit New Zealand chairman and Roxburgh orchardist Gary
Bennetts said rain was ''always a worry'' at this point in
the season and it was too early yesterday to know what
effect, if any, the rain would have on crops this season.
Though growers were hoping for the rain to stop, the last
thing they wanted was a hot day to follow, as that could make
Central Otago District Council principal rural fire officer
Owen Burgess yesterday welcomed the rain, which he hoped
might reduce the region's fire risk.
By late afternoon yesterday Roxburgh had received about 14mm
of rain, Earnscleugh about 10mm and Cromwell 10-12mm.
High winds also caused power cuts yesterday and Delta systems
control manager Graeme Johnson said a branch had bought down
a power line, causing a two and a-half-hour outage to about
270 connections in Glendhu Bay, near Wanaka. A falling branch
at Millers Flat cut power to about 160 users for four hours.
• Heavy rain in Clutha hit camping grounds.
Bookings fell and some campers had left. Clutha district
rivers were running high.
In the Catlins, camping grounds were reporting a drop in
At Newhaven, near Owaka, numbers were down for the New Year
break, some booking were cancelled and campers left early. In
Kaka Point, people were still making bookings, but some were
Leanne Scott, of the Balclutha Motor Camp, said the rain had
stopped and most holiday-makers were staying despite a few
The ground had collected about six extra camper vans staying
overnight, after they were rained out of the Catlins.
''We're lucky because we have some dry patches here. It hits
the Catlins pretty hard. You tell people it's a rainforest,
In South Catlins, Curio Bay Holiday Park manager Val Whyte
said it was a quiet start to the year.
''We've had quite heavy rain but there's still a few hardy
Mrs Whyte said some campers had left a day or two earlier
than planned, but more than 60 people were still holidaying
at the sheltered camp.