Flooding forces Southland farmers to use jetboat to save livestock

A Southland couple have used boats to save their livestock after heavy rain caused their farm to be completely inundated with floodwater.

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Faith Saraha’s farm is completely under water after two days of heavy rain in Southland. Source: 1 NEWS

Faith Saraha, who lives on a farm with her partner between Gore and Waikaka, says they were left with no option but to use their jetboat to save their animals after the Waikaka stream flooded.

“We got a call yesterday morning about 4am,” she said.

“The river came up way faster than expected.”

In the dark, Ms Saraha and her partner raced to save the livestock.

Faith Saraha’s farm is completely under water after two days of heavy rain in Southland. Credit: Faith Saraha

“Our horses were all panicked, making a lot of noise as it was dark, and the water was coming in all directions.”

If you are safe and have taken video or photos of the flooding, please send them to, or the 1 NEWS Facebook page

Footage Ms Saraha sent to 1 NEWS shows the couple using their jetboat to herd their livestock and their neighbour’s livestock to drier land.

“Our flat land is all under water,” she says.

In her partner’s 25 years of farming she says he’s never seen flooding this bad before.

“We are completely cut off now.”

They were prepared for incoming weather with enough supplies to get them through and their home is on a hill and hasn’t been affected by the flooding.

“We are more concerned about the people in the town [Gore].

“That’s where our stream meets the Mataura River.”

Residents in the Southland town were ordered to evacuate this morning with fears the Mataura River would burst its banks.

MetService says 108.8mm of rain has fallen in Gore over the last 48 hours, but this morning dawned clear and bright.

More showers are expected for Southland this afternoon.

Read more here
Main bridge into Gore closed, power cut as flooding prompts evacuations in Southland

Nearby Southland towns Dipton and Lumsden have received 107mm and 127mm of rain in the last 48 hours.

Kyla Wilson who lives with her family on a farm in Dipton sent 1 NEWS footage of the Benmore Bridge which collapsed just a couple of kilometres down the road from her home.

“[We] had to evacuate all stock.

“Water levels have dropped a wee bit now, but flooding was right on our lifestyle block.”

For more information go to the Southland Emergency Management Facebook page.

News tip or more information? Email Natalia Sutherland