Communities remain resilient as response enters day 27

Last Updated : 23 Feb 2023
Piha Community Support
Support services for Piha community

We are now into day 27 of our response to last month’s flood and Cyclone Gabrielle and our focus remains on supporting communities throughout Tāmaki Makaurau. 

Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) Duty Controller Rachel Kelleher said good progress was being made by AEM and other agencies. 

“In saying that, there is still a lot of work to do, and we are grateful for the patience and resilience being shown by those communities,” she said. 

There is some rain forecast in the next few days, and this will no doubt cause some anxiety. 

“MetService has not yet issued any weather watches or warnings for the Auckland Region. 

“We are expecting isolated showers this afternoon and tomorrow morning, followed by showers throughout the region which could be heavy with low risk of thunderstorms and peak rain rates of about 10 to 15mm/h.  

“This is not expected to cause more flooding but could cause instability in slips that already exist throughout the region. It remains important that people stay out of cordoned areas, restricted buildings and do not interfere with traffic management signs and barriers.” 

Emergency services are ready to respond if the weather situation escalates. 

Kelleher also took a moment to recognise the anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake. 

“Today is the 12-year anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake, another significant event which changed the lives of so many. It is a reminder of the heartbreak these natural disasters cause, but also the type of resilience and togetherness we can take inspiration from. Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the earthquake and the ongoing rebuild.” 

Isolated communities  

  • We are aware of a king high tide and unusually large swells at Piha Beach today. Surf Life Saving are not on guard and we’re asking people to stay away from the beach and please do not attempt to go surfing or swimming. 
  • Yesterday (Tuesday), access to Karekare was partially restored for emergency access. Power was restored in the Karekare Valley area, as well as telecommunications using generators. 
  • Power in Te Henga / Bethells Beach has been partially restored. Most homes in Bethells have now been restored. 
  • Preparation begins today for repairs on the washed-out road at Bethells Beach. Work on the road itself begins Friday and will proceed throughout the weekend until it is complete. During this time, there will be no resident access between 7.30am to 5pm. We recommend residents in the area forward plan and ensure they have all they need to get through the weekend. Please obey signage and instructions so we can get the road repaired as quickly as possible. 
  • Today, supplies are being helicoptered in to Southhead, including nappies and wipes, and Portaloos are being dropped off to Dairy Flat. 
  • Access is still limited in Muriwai and Piha, but power has been partially restored, including telecommunications using generators. Community Service Hubs were operating in both areas yesterday. 
  • Kaipara flats have had their access restored. The response team were visiting the area yesterday for basic needs assessments. 

Building Assessments 

We are working as quickly as possible on a plan for re-entry for those who have not been able to access their homes. We know people want to understand options for doing this safely. 

Auckland Council General Manager Building Consents Ian McCormick said the majority of building assessments had been completed. 

“We’re beginning to transition from response to recovery,” he said. 

“In total, we’ve done about 1400 assessments as part of our response to Cyclone Gabrielle.” 

The updated placard figures for Cyclone Gabrielle are: 

  • Red: 215 
  • Yellow: 269 
  • White: 891 

“Increasingly our focus is on supporting and enabling people to get back into their homes, in some cases even if it’s just to collect some of their chattels. 

“Where a building has a red placard, it is more challenging. It’s important if you are the owner of a building like that, you do not enter it. If you do it’s possible you’ll get into trouble, in which case you’ll not only put yourself at risk but also any friends or whānau that might be with you, as well as emergency services.” 

Geotechnical update 

Auckland Council Head of Engineering Resilience Ross Roberts said the recent dry weather has helped reduce the amount of water in our soil. 

“It’s improved the stability of the ground and is reducing the risk of further landslides,” he said. 

“However, we have observed many existing landslides that are still moving, including some that are located above red placarded properties.” 

He said the geotechnical team had been working “flat out” to look at the bigger picture issues and collect data on the risk to people and properties throughout the region. 

“Many landslides will continue to move unpredictably after the triggering event. Our work monitoring these landslides is essential to informing decisions we need to make as council and as our society about our next steps. 

“Unfortunately, collecting, analysing and interpreting this data takes time. It’s essential we know how stable landslides are before we put people at risk.” 

Civil Defence Centres 

Our Civil Defence Centres, shelters, community support hubs, and community-led centres are still open for people needing refuge from the January floods and Cyclone Gabrielle. 

There are now seven civil defence centres, shelters and info hubs open across the Auckland region. As mentioned yesterday, the Trusts Arena CDC today has now been moved to Te Pae o Kura in Kelston. 

Overnight, we had 66 people staying in our CDCs. We are working alongside our partner agencies, such as MBIE and Kāinga Ora, to ensure everyone is moved to suitable temporary accommodation. 

Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Regional Public Service Commissioner for Tāmaki Makaurau Julia Lynch said MSD had been working with the community, partners and agencies to support the emergency response. 

“Civil Defence payments can be used for help with emergency food, bedding clothing, loss of income and costs if you have to leave your home. It also covers payments if you have evacuees stay with you. 

“So far MSD has paid out just over $20 million to nearly 35,000 people affected in the Auckland region. 

“How much you can get depends on your situation so please get in touch with MSD to find out how we can help you.” 

You can contact MSD on 0800 400 100, the line is open 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm Saturday, and 8am to 1pm Sunday. 


We mentioned yesterday that six of our regional parks are closed and being assessed today. Following those assessments, the decision has been made for those parks to remain closed until at least Wednesday 1st March due to safety and access restrictions. 

A reminder of those parks:  

  • Ātiu Creek Regional Park  
  • The western side of Hunua Regional Park, including Hunua Falls  
  • Muriwai Regional Park  
  • Tāwharanui Regional Park  
  • Te Rau Pūriri Regional Park  
  • Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, including the Te Henga Walkway.  

We also need to remind you of the continued closure of Muriwai Beach at Wilson Road and Coast Road. Please do not attempt to get through the cordons, we must allow these affected communities the time and space they need to recover. 

Waste Solutions   

Taking calls about waste management solutions is a priority for our contact centre and we have doubled our capacity for taking those calls. Our teams are still very busy but rest assured you will be called back as quickly as possible.  

We spoke a lot about sandbags in yesterday’s briefing, including information on the disposal of contaminated, uncontaminated and unused sandbags.  

All the information about that is on our website 

If you need any information about the floods or the cyclone, you can find this at our website: 

You can also call us on 0800 22 22 00. Our teams have been very busy, and this has resulted in longer wait times but rest assured, we will call you back. 

And a reminder – if you have been affected by the floods or the cyclone and need some help, there are support services available. You do not need to face this alone so please do reach out – to us at AEM, to friends or family, a volunteer group or even over Facebook. 

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