Woman rescued from rising floodwaters in Rotorua

The woman was rescued from her care and it was submerged to its roof minutes later. Photo:...
The woman was rescued from her care and it was submerged to its roof minutes later. Photo: Supplied / Police
Two lines company workers have saved a woman stuck inside her car in rising floodwaters south of Rotorua.

Police say when the woman called emergency services at 1pm and she was on a flooded patch on Waikaukau Road at Ngakuru and the vehicle floated into deeper water and started sinking.

Water was up to her chest while she was on the phone and she could not open doors or windows of her car.

A helicopter and swift water rescue team was deployed but a lines crew saw the incident unfolding and jumped into the water, smashing the window before pulling the woman out.

Her car was submerged to its roof minutes later.

Police say the workers who pulled the woman from her car in rising floodwaters today put themselves at risk to save a stranger.

“We cannot thank those rescuers enough,” Acting Sergeant Kyra Steiner said.

“They likely saved a life today and a family’s loved one gets to come home tonight. Had they not been there, it quickly could have gone the other way."

Steiner said the workers were very humble and downplayed their efforts when retelling the story.

"They put themselves at risk to save a stranger who will be forever grateful."

The North Island has been hit with heavy rainfall all day, with more on the way for southern and eastern parts of the island. 

Rotorua and Hawke's Bay have been hit particularly hard and MetService has issued an extended heavy rain warning for Hawke's Bay south through to the Wairarapa. 

Heavy rain warnings for eastern parts of the lower North Island could be extended if a slow moving system lingers offshore.

Torrential rain kept emergency services busy in Auckland overnight, while later in the day rising water levels threatened homes near Ngongotahā Stream in Rotorua.

Duty meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane says up to 200mm of rain is expected to fall over ranges above Hawke's Bay before Thursday morning.

The weather system is moving south and a heavy rain watch is in place for the Kaikoura Ranges until 3pm Wednesday.  

Emergency Management Minister Mark Mitchell has praised the resilience of mayors for reacting early to adverse weather events on the East Coast.

Mitchell spent the morning speaking with mayors in some of the affected regions.

One thing leaders were learning was to react early and prepare early, he said.

Central government was on standby to support any regions with specific support if they need it.