February 17, 2023
Iwi fires up Dargaville rescue effort
While the focus has switched to the devastation in Tairawhiti and Hawke’s Bay, parts of Dargaville and the northern Kaipara are also flooding.
Antony Thompson, the executive officer for Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua, says four marae around Dargaville and Ruawai were submerged and hundreds of people were evacuated from low-lying parts of Dargaville and surrounding areas.
He says flooding in the Hikurangi Swamp north of Whangarei can show up 12 hours later as a flash flood in the Northern Wairoa River, and if that combines with a high tide the river will burst its banks.
“A lot of our whanau are still isolated in the Kaihu, Tangiteroria areas, Mangakahia on the northern end and on our southerd end Pouto Peninsula is cut off as well. It’s going to be a week to two weeks before we are able to get power to that peninsula so a lot of the locals, if they have four wheel drives and quads, they are able to come through the roads over the slips. Otherwise most whanau are coming up the western beach from Pouto into Dargaviille,” Mr Thompson says.
Four Ngati Whatua marae are key hubs for evacuees and food, and other marae are being used as distribution centres for kai and hygeine packs.
Mr Thompson says the flooding through the Ruawai area is similar to what occurred during Cyclone Bola 35 years ago.