February 17, 2023
River of rain sweeps away predictions
Ngati Kahungunu leader Ngahiwi Tomoana says it was impossible to predict the scale of devastation brought by Cyclone Gabrielle.
The former runanga chair is coordinating relief efforts for the Hawke’s Bay iwi.
He says after Cyclone Bola 35 years ago councils in the region made their stop banks a metre higher, but the waters just washed over them.
“Even with all the best predictions we couldn’t contain this river of water that poured out of the sky over the country in the last two or three days. Our Waioheke whanau are telling they had seconds to get out of their houses, not weeks, not days, not hours, not minutes, seconds, and they were dry floor to knee deep within seconds,” Mr Tomoana says.
Marae and urupa in the region have been flooded, and a new papakainga at Waioheke was destroyed.