First convoy on Napier-Taupo Road, 14 March

From their respective media releases …


In the days following the cyclone, a peak of 75,000 customers were without power, Hawke’s Bay’s connection to the national grid was lost, three of Unison’s substations were out of service due to flooding, two fibre links were destroyed, and around 500 power pole structures were damaged.

As at 9.30am Tuesday, 700 customers remain without power across the region, of which less than 200 are occupied residential households.

Currently generation is providing power to around 760 households that are unable to be reconnected to the network due to extensive cyclone damage, to meet their essential welfare needs.

Further progress was made over the weekend with the restoration of the interconnector transformer and its control equipment at Redclyffe substation, allowing connection of the regional transmission network to the national grid again, increasing resilience, security of supply, and helping meet peak demand.

We have a clear plan and understand what is required to fix the Awatoto substation, but we are realistic this work could take at least a month to complete. We hope to be able to provide a clearer timeline of the work that needs to be carried out once a full assessment of the damage and repairs needed has been made. [Editor: Access to the flooded substation has been restricted due to contamination.]

NZ Transport (Waka Kotahi) – Napier-Taupo Road

Around 30 heavy vehicles were some of the first to travel State Highway 5 between Taupo and Napier since Cyclone Gabrielle devastated the route, as part of a freight convoy this morning Tue, 14th). The first convoy ran between Taupo and Napier, with a convoy travelling in the other direction leaving later this afternoon. Convoys will run on weekdays only, with the direction alternating each day. 

There are 32 damaged sites the convoys have to travel through or past, ranging from minor dropouts to significant underslips and washouts.

Napier City Council – Awatoto

The Awatoto industrial area houses many different industries, and there are a wide range of chemical and biological materials held in the area. These materials were disturbed and mixed together during flooding. They then contaminated silt as floodwater moved through the area. On Tuesday 21 February 2023, initial samples were taken at nine sites in the Awatoto area. Samples taken were from a mix of spills, overflows and sections of water or silt that were observed to be different to other areas, as well as general areas of standing floodwater and silt in the vicinity. A controlled cordon was put in place as was the requirement to wear full PPE inside the zone. Over the coming weeks more samples were taken. Full results are yet to come back.

Awatoto industry has set up a working group with Napier City Council, initiated by Nigel Halpin Operations Manager at BioRich, which recycles organic waste into compost.

Napier City Council and the Awatoto working group are meeting multiple times a week. The council has also estabished an Awatoto Response Team, focused solely on the needs of Awatoto industry and residents.


The Regional Council has taken on a major role in the response with 205 staff working over 23,000 hours from 14 February to 5 March this year.

Staff hours

  • 23,464 staff hours (14 Feb – 5 Mar)
  • 205 HBRC staff working on cyclone response across Group Emergency Coordination Centre, HBRC Emergency Operations Centre, at Napier City Council EOC and Works Group (14 Feb – 5 Mar)

Flood infrastructure 

  • Of the 248 km stop bank network, 5 km was breached.
  • 160 contractors are working on repairing stop banks
  • Most breaches have temporary repairs with gravel bunding (mounding) and plastic wraps
  • Permanent repairs will take months
  • All pump stations damaged are now operational

Rain and river level monitoring 

  • Rainfall levels were 500% above normal across the region
  • Rainfall surpassed forecasts in one area by more than 250mm
  • The Glengarry gauge used to monitor the Esk Valley, got 502mm over 24 hours – equivalent to nearly six months of rainfall
  • River flow statistics are still being validated but averaging more than 1000% above normal
  • 113 rain and river level monitoring sites went down due to a communication breakage and are now 99% restored
  • This data shows the cyclone is the most significant weather event to impact the region since records began

Disaster Relief Trust

  • $3 million (Government seed funding of $1 million + $2 million in public donations) has been donated and just under $500,000 has already been distributed to applicants

Hastings District Council

Roads & bridges status as at 13 March:

Pakatutu Rd (two weeks), Puketītiri Rd (low crossing open to residents during daylight;
Bailey Bridge access late-March),
Waihau Road (open to light traffic),
Taihape-Napier Rd (open to Glenross Rd; closed at Gentle Annie).

Mangleton Rd (14 March),
Kereru Road (two months).

Te Waka Rd (open to 4×4), Ellis Wallace Rd (end of March).

Roads/bridges waiting on information to

inform dates (more information will be

supplied as soon as it is available):

Makahu Rd (awaiting flood waters to recede, TBA),
Vicarage Rd (TBA),
Waiohiki Rd (TBA).

Darky Spur Rd (TBA),
Matahorua Rd (TBA),
Haeys Access Rd (TBA),
Glenbrook RD (TBA),
Waikare Rd (TBA),
Aropaoanui Rd (TBA; temporary crossing started),
Waipunga Rd (TBA),
Dartmoor Rd (TBA),
Mangatutu Rd (TBA).

Roads reopened (essential services and

residents only):

Whanawhana Rd (temporary access restored),
Potter Rd,
Hendley Rd (4 x 4 only),
Huiarangi Rd,
Taihape-Napier Rd,
Ridgemount Rd,
Mimiha Rd,
McVicar Rd,
Pohokura Rd (4 x 4 only to end of road via Waitara Rd).

Full HDC rural report here.


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