State Highway 5 reopens between Napier and Taupo after major flooding, NZTA urges caution on the roads

The Napier-to-Taupo road, closed after heavy rain caused slips and flooding, has reopened.

However, people should take extra care on the road, part of State Highway 5, and delays can be expected, with some sections down to one lane, the NZ Transport Agency says.

Most other state highways are also open.

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence says rain is expected to continue overnight and it is monitoring the situation, but the risk of flooding is easing.

It says those residents who have self-evacuated from their homes may return if safe to do so.

However, the situation could change so those in affected area should continue to be prepared to leave, if necessary.

Among those who had evacuated were campers from Eskdale Holiday Park and students from Hukarere Girls College.

There were also evacuations in Patoka, about 40km inland from Napier.

Re-live 1 NEWS NOWS' live updates from the wild weather which caused flooding in the Hawke's Bay region today.

4.45pm: Latest road update from the Central Hawke's Bay Council:

All roads are open - currently there are no closed roads in CHB

Blackhead Beach Campground Ford - now only accessible by 4wd
Flaxmill Bridge by Ugly Hill Rd – ponding - extreme caution advised

4.22pm: Relief is in site tomorrow as the low moves offshore.

4.08pm: Click here for the latest in-depth weather update from TVNZ Weather Presenter Dan Corbett.

3.47pm: Crikey indeed!

3.35pm: The torrential rain has left some stranded in the Ruapehu District, including a heavily pregnant woman. 

3.32pm: Latest update on the weather situation from the Hastings Distrcit Council:

The situation in Hawke's Bay has eased. River levels have dropped however 50 to 60mm of rain is expected to continue overnight, but spread over a longer period of time.

Residents who evacuated are advised that they can return home but those in the Esk River catchment area are asked to remain prepared to evacuate at short notice should the situation change

3.20pm: There was also some wild weather in Auckland last night, as Andre Morrison's slow-mo video shows!

3.10pm: Good news from the New Zealand Transport Authority.

3.05pm: The latest roading update from the Central Hawke's Bay District Council:

  • Wimbledon Road is now OPEN, south of our border
  • Outside CHB Rugby Park - Mitchell St - flooding
  • Minor slip - River Road covering part of one lane 
TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett with the latest update. Source: 1 NEWS

2.55pm: The latest update on the weather from 1 NEWS's Dan Corbett.

Latest rain radar for Hawke's Bay region.
Latest rain radar for Hawke's Bay region. Source: MetService

2.30pm: The latest rain radar image from the MetService for the Hawke's Bay region shows some relief for Napier, but rain moving into Whanganui and Palmerston North.

2.15pm: That's a massive amount of rain!

2pm: Click here for more on the small Hawke's Bay settlement of Rissington, which has been slammed by torrential rain, causing the local river to rise alarmingly.

1.50pm: In other weather related news, the MetService has just tweeted out an explanation of cyclonic winds.

A reminder more bad weather may be on the way, with Cyclone Hola possibly hitting the North Island late Sunday into Monday...

Senior Station Officer Mark McGill says the flooding in Rissington can't be fought back – and the forecast is for more rain. Source: 1 NEWS


1.35pm: Marthinus Swart sent 1 NEWS footage of a rather scary drive on State Highway 5 before it was shut by flooding.

1.25pm: "The Eskdale Holiday Park has been absolutely inundated," says 1 NEWS' Sean Hogan.

"A big clean up job ahead".

1.20pm: 1 NEWS' Sean Hogan is live from the scene on Facebook now.

1.18pm: Another rain warning update from the Napier City Council.

URGENT. Message to residents close to Esk River

The Esk River's still rising. Please stay safe out there, drive very, very slowly (if you have to be on the road)...


1pm: A warning from the Napier City Council: "Stay away from rivers and streams and please avoid already flooded areas. On roads, as little as 30cm of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you are driving, please be extra careful. The depth of water is not always obvious."

12.40pm: Josh Pye spoke to 1 NEWS' Sean Hogan from the settlement of Rissington. He said the nearby river is as high as he's seen it, having lived in the area for a decade. 

12.30pm: The Napier-Taupo road - State Highway 5 - is closed due to surface flooding, police say, as considerable rain batters Hawke's Bay.

Flooding just off State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - on March 8.
Flooding just off State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - on March 8. Source: NZTA

The NZTA said a potential detour route was available via Palmerston North, which they said would add four to five hours to the journey.

Surface flooding on State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - on March 8.
Surface flooding on State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - on March 8.

"A second but longer detour is to go north from Taupo on SH5 to Rotorua, take SH30 and SH2 to Gisborne and on to Napier," they said in a release.

Hawkes Bay Regional Council reports 291mm of rain has fallen so far today at their Glengarry site - a one-in-20-year event.

Civil Defence said this morning that the Esk River is at "high levels and rising", and warned that properties nearby need to remain vigilant throughout the day.

A graph showing the river level at the Waipunga Bridge sampling station on March 9 after very heavy rain.
A graph showing the river level at the Waipunga Bridge sampling station on March 9 after very heavy rain. Source: 1 NEWS

A measurement of the water level at Waipunga Bridge showed it peaked at more than 7m.

Some people have already decided to evacuate, including Hukarere Girls' College and Eskdale Camping Ground.

Glengarry Road, Mekahu Road and Waipunga Road are closed due to slips, Taihape Road is open but small slips have been reported.

Heays Access Road remain open, with some slips reported, and Seafield Road is closed due to a fallen tree.

For a full forecast for your region, see our weather page here.

Meet the transgender Wellington school caretaker brightening up kids' days

A transgender caretaker at a Wellington school has been using her musical talents to brighten up the kids' days.

Molly Mason was born as Michael, but soon discovered she was a female born in a man's body.

"I believe I'm a woman, and I associate as a woman, so I live my life as a woman," Molly told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

Molly has a love of music that began when she was just six.

Now, in her role as caretaker at a Wellington school, she uses her talent to good effect by beat boxing with the kids at lunchtime.

"When I realised that beat boxing and making sounds was something I couldn't live without, that was it, nothing else mattered."

However, to be this woman - that little boy Michael, had a fight on his hands.

"I got bullied from primary school right through until the day I left college and left Blenheim."

Molly is now proud to be transgender and says the stage is her safe place. She performs as her drag alter ego called Bette Noir.

"Anything that makes me sad, makes me worried, makes me scared, anything that I find stressful, it's not there, it's gone." 

Seven Sharp’s Arrun Soma spoke with Molly Mason. Source: Seven Sharp


Ministry of Justice union members strike, launching a month of industrial action over pay

Court security officers and Family Court coordinators are among Ministry of Justice employees going on strike for two hours nationwide today as they start more than four weeks of industrial action over pay.

Ministry of Justice members of the Public Service Association will strike from 10.30am to 12.30pm today.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay said on Monday that eleventh hour meetings were held between the PSA Bargaining Team and Ministry of Justice to reach a resolution but no movement on fundamental pay issues was offered.

He said the union is seeking an outcome that ensures members including court security officers, registry officers, victim advisors, court reporters and Family Court coordinators are reasonably paid. 

The ministry’s own engagement survey shows that only a third of staff feel valued for the work that they do, with a clear impact on recruitment and retention issues across the ministry, Mr Barclay said. 

He said the ministry offered the third lowest average salary in the public sector last year and the PSA believes this is being worsened. 

As well as strike action today, the employees will ban overtime, only work contracted hours of work and take common breaks until October 19 "to push for fair pay systems and a modest across-the-board pay increase," Mr Barclay said.

Kaitaia, New Zealand - August 18, 2014: Kaitaia District/Family Court outdoor sign and symbol. It is the most northern District Court in new zealand
Kaitaia District Court. Source:


Netsafe won't pursue Sir Ray Avery's complaint over media website

Scientist and entrepreneur Sir Ray Avery will have to go to the district court if he wants to pursue his complaint about media website Newsroom any further.

Sir Ray complained to Netsafe under the Harmful Digital Communications Act, regarding five articles Newsroom had published about fundraising he was doing for his LifePod inventions, and about his other past products.

He said the articles caused him severe emotional distress and amounted to harassment and digital harm under the Act.

Newsroom has refused to take the articles down.

Netsafe Director Martin Cocker said there isn't anything more Netsafe can do through mediation.

"As soon as one party says, you know they're not prepared to engage in the process, then that's a pretty strong sign that it's time for Netsafe to conclude its process."

That mediation process is a mandatory first step under the Act, and most Harmful Digital Communications Act complaints are sorted at this point.

However Mr Cocker said the main thing they do to get resolution, is to advise parties on what the likely legal ramifications are of different actions that they might take.

In this case, Mr Cocker said, there is not clarity in the Act about how these particular cases should be handled.

"It is for the court to set that precedent, so our recommendation is that has to happen," he said.

Mr Cocker said if they did not feel they could progress the case, their advice was to consider taking it to the district court. But he said that was "entirely optional" for the complainant.

By Gia Garrick

Newsroom is standing by its reporting on the former New Zealander of the Year, and questioning the method of the complaint.
Sir Ray Avery. Source: 1 NEWS

What to do and what not to do if you come across a kiwi in the wild

A rare daytime encounter with a kiwi on the Heaphy Track got TVNZ1's Seven Sharp thinking - what to do and what not to do when you come across the native bird in the wild.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) says it's pretty unusual for these nocturnal birds to be out during sunshine hours.

As we all know kiwi don't fly so escaping predators can be pretty tricky. An average of 27 are killed every week, so we've got to be pretty careful around them.

DOC gave Seven Sharp some important tips to remember if you encounter one of these unique birds.

Firstly stay still and just enjoy the rare experience. Stay a few metres away and don't worry if they approach you, just keep still.

Second, don't move towards the bird or try to pick it up - it's an offence to hold kiwi without permission from DOC.

Also, be weary of their sharp claws - they're wild animals and can get stroppy.

Lastly, feel free to take photos or video, but only in low light conditions and don't use a flash as it can stun the birds.

An encounter with one of the birds on the Heaphy Track got us thinking. Source: Seven Sharp