UPDATE: Cyclone Gita to potentially bring 7.5 metre waves, snowfall in onslaught set for Tuesday

Cyclone Gita is continuing a path that forecasters expect will bring it crashing into New Zealand on tomorrow or Wednesday, unleashing heavy rain and possibly snowfall.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Having caused damage to Tonga last week, the cyclone is taking a boomerang-shaped path that has it currently lying south of New Caledonia, according to MetService's latest tracking map today.

Breakfast weatherman Matty McLean has the latest weather update. Source: Breakfast

It is expected to soon begin its turn back towards New Zealand and approach from the northwest as it transforms into an extra-tropical cyclone, MetService says.

Check the forecast in your region on the 1 NEWS NOW weather page

Metservice has issued a severe weather warning for Cyclone Gita to bring damaging winds and heavy rain to parts of central New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Principal Forecaster Chris Brandolino talks through the likely impacts as the storm barrels in from the west. Source: Breakfast

Cyclone Gita, currently located over the Tasman Sea, is forecast to track southeastwards and cross central New Zealand late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

The passage of Gita is expected to bring a period of high-impact severe weather to many parts of central New Zealand. 

Heavy rain will cause slips, rapidly rising streams and rivers, and flooding. 

Severe gales with damaging gusts are expected, so people are advised to secure property and items that may be blown away by strong winds. 

There is also the potential for coastal inundation with high tide overnight Tuesday and before dawn on Wednesday, due to the combination of tides, low air-pressure, strong onshore winds and large waves in excess of six metres in some places. 

For the North Island, coastal areas from Raglan southwards to southern Wairarapa are most at risk. 

For the South Island, the risk of coastal inundation is greatest for areas from Buller and North Canterbury northwards. 

In a live update on Facebook at 2.30pm, senior meteorologist Lisa Murray said the latest map shows the heaviest rain will be over the Wellington region, southern Wairarapa, Nelson, Buller, Marlborough, the Kaikoura coast, Canterbury plains and high country and along Westland including the ranges.

She also said that with strong wind, some places could see 7.5 metre swells affecting the coast, including in Nelson and Marlborough, Buller, Kapiti and northern Wellington.

Keep up to date with MetService's latest warnings.

Heavy rain and winds are expected for central New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday. Source: Breakfast

Cold air being dragged northwards by the cyclone may lead to snow falling to unseasonably low levels about the Canterbury high country on Tuesday.

It is unlikely the snow will warrant a widespread snow warning, but it may still affect some of the alpine roads in Canterbury.

CIVIL DEFENCE: PREPARE NOW AND BEHAVE SENSIBLY DURING THE STORM

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management is advising people to prepare for the possibility of power cuts, water outages and road closures.

Ministry of Civil Defence Director Sarah Stuart-Black yesterday said it's a good idea to have a grab bag ready in case you need to evacuate.

Non-essential travel during the storm is strongly discouraged, as roads will be especially dangerous.

Items which could be blown around by wind should be tied down and secured, including items like trampolines.

During the storm, close windows and curtains and avoid potential injury from breaking glass.

Bring your pets inside, and if you are forced to leave your home, be prepared to take them with you.

Marlborough warnings

Marlborough Civil Defence says anyone in the Marlborough Sounds, especially campers, trampers and boaties should leave the area today. Hunters and trampers in the high country should also keep an eye on rapidly rising rivers.

Marlborough Civil Defence says there's a heavy rain warning from 10am to 10pm Tuesday when 150 to 200mm of rain around higher ground and lesser amounts elsewhere is expected. Peak intensities of 20 to 30mm/hr are possible 

And there's a strong wind warning from 4pm Tuesday to 4am Wednesday for severe gale southeasterlies gusting 130 km/h in exposed places.

Be aware of fast rising streams and river levels. Expect coastal impacts with high tide overnight Tuesday and before dawn on Wednesday, due to the combination of tides, low air pressure, strong onshore winds and large waves in excess of six metres in some places.

Road closures from high river levels are possible at the Pelorus across SH6, Wakamarina Rd, Queen Charlotte track at Havelock, SH1 beside the Para Swamp and SH63 Wairau Valley. 

Boaties should be aware of debris at sea over the next few days.

Grey District schools to close

Grey District Council says all schools, early childhood centres and the Polytech will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cyclone Gita, currently over the North Tasman Sea, is forecast to affect the West Coast overnight tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday. 

The council says this is a significant storm with potential for severe gale-force winds, dangerous storm surges and waves causing coastal inundation and flooding, and heavy rain causing rapidly rising streams and rivers, causing flooding.


Authorities on the South Island’s West Coast are particularly concerned. Source: 1 NEWS


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One man dead after reported street fight in Lower Hutt

One person has died in Lower Hutt this evening reportedly after a fight broke out.

Police have confirmed one man has died from "injuries sustained in an assault" at an incident on High Street in Taitā this evening.

Police say they were called to reports of a fight between a group of men at around 7:45pm.

When they arrived, they discovered the man he had suffered critical injuries and he died shortly after at the scene.

Police have taken one person into custody and have set up a detour between Macky and Burcham Streets with a scene guard expected to be in place overnight.

Police on scene after a man died from an assault in Taitā.
Police on scene after a man died from an assault in Taitā. Source: 1 NEWS

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'False and ludicrously untrue' - Trevor Mallard threatened with legal action by anti-1080 campaigner over dead native birds claim

An anti-1080 activist is threatening to take the Parliamentary Speaker Trevor Mallard to court over comments that dead native birds laid on the steps of Parliament as part of a protest appeared to have been bludgeoned.

Five native birds, including kererū and weka, were strewn across Parliament's steps on Wednesday, in what activists labelled "an act of theatre."

At a press conference yesterday, Mr Mallard said he had received expert advice the birds had been bludgeoned to death.

"I've been briefed today that the birds died from blunt force trauma," he said.

"There's work that is going on to finally establish that, and that will involve an investigation at Massey University followed by lankier research doing a toxicology check on the birds but the expert advice is that the birds were almost certainly bludgeoned to death."

But, anti-1080 protester, Alan Gurden, said that statement was ridiculous and said he would be suing for slander.

"I will definitely be taking him to court for defamation and slander of my character and that of my fellow protesters if he does not talk to Jacinda [Ardern] and make her agree to give me a meeting with a full parliamentary sitting, for a full day, to give them a presentation of the truth," he said.

"If they are forthcoming with this meeting that we were promised then I may reconsider not taking him to court."

Mr Gurden said there was no way the birds had been bludgeoned.

Department of Conservation staff say in the past month they've had their car tyres slashed and wheel nuts loosened. Source: 1 NEWS

"Trevor Mallard has made an absolutely false and ludicrously untrue statement in saying they were bludgeoned," he said.

"Now we took photographs and footage of those birds, none of them appeared bludgeoned to me."

Some of the birds were roadkill, while others were picked up from a 1080 dropzone in 2014, Mr Gurden said.

However, he could not say for sure if they died as a result of 1080.

"My acquaintance that kept those animals in his freezer since then was hoping to be able to get a pathology report or whatever you call it to get them tested for 1080 residues," he said.

"So he had kept them in his freezer but he has not had the vast sums of money available to him to be able to get an independent test."

In a written statement today, after being advised by RNZ of Mr Gurden's defamation threat, Mr Mallard said he was not going to be bullied but would make no further comment.

The Department of Conservation said they had been the target of threats and violence by some anti-1080 activists, with 16 incident reports being lodged by staff in August 2018.

- Katie Doyle

Rnz.co.nz

Speaker Trevor Mallard has taken the matter to the police and DOC. Source: 1 NEWS

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Fletcher's terrace homes to provide solution to Kiwi housing demands

Fletcher Building has shown off a row of five terrace homes constructed in as many days and claim this could be a remedy to the the country's housing demand.

Fletcher's prefabricated method means it takes around one to four days to weatherproof a home compared to 50 days for a standard built duplex home.

The trial is a proof of concept for the construction giant's factory which will open next year, producing around 500 prefabricated houses annually.

Chief executive Steve Evans said, "we wanted to make sure that we could do it for a variety of homes."

"We've moved from a cottage industry to a production line industry," said Auckland mayor Phil Goff.

Once the basic modules are up, the homes can be finished off in six weeks, that's so all the interiors and exterior claddings can be personalised, said the company.

For now the cost of construction is about the same as conventional homes.

"What I would hope in time is that as you get scale, then the pricing should come down and that's certainly our aspiration," said Mr Evans.

"We need 14,000, 15,000 houses a year. We're struggling to do that. with panelisation, we can do it quicker. we get better quality assurance." said Mr Goff.

The company plans to set up a factory in South Auckland, the first panels coming off the line by mid next year.

The aim is to build around 500 homes a year, with the KiwiBuild market in mind.

It’s hoped the use of preconstructed panels will speed up the building process, delivering more affordable homes over time. Source: 1 NEWS


Furore erupts after young kids wearing temporary moko told they couldn't perform at Christchurch Cultural Festival

A furore has erupted after young children wearing temporary moko were told they couldn't perform in the Christchurch Cultural Festival last week.

The festival decided to ban moko last year, following complaints about incorrect use.

The story got attention when a teacher from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Whanau Tahi School made an emotional statement on social media about three children being told to take their moko off at the festival.

"The young boy, who was the original boy that had a moko on his face, he was our leader, it was him that was going to be stood down, told he couldn’t perform, the other two girls were to fix it," the teacher said in a Facebook video.

In 2016 children were allowed to perform with temporary moko, but last year the rules changed and schools signed an agreement that children wouldn't wear the facial tattoos.

Kapa haka leaders have told 1 NEWS the ban followed 30 complaints that the moko weren't authentic, but some are questioning the blanket ban.

"They go with absolute pride in their hearts and on their faces with the intent to showcase their culture and themselves and they potentially got shot down," Mokopapa organiser Huata Martindale told 1 NEWS.

Both the school and the Christchurch Primary Schools Festival Trust didn't want to comment, but said they're working through a process together.

The festival decided to ban moko after complaints about incorrect use, but it has left some in the school community upset. Source: 1 NEWS