Watch: 'Like Niagra Falls' - Napier orchard manager describes traumatic scenes as deluge of rain leaves crops waterlogged

A Napier orchard manager has described the dramatic scenes he witnessed in yesterday's torrential downpours as a jet boat was used to rescue people from a two-story house near his flooded orchard.

Cherry Orchard operational manager Jordan Alison described the flooding of the area as "like the Niagara Falls" when it broke through a stop bank the company constructed just months earlier.

He said there'll be a monetary loss from the event with the floodwaters damaging fence wires and pushing wooden posts out of place. Luckily, the 5000 cherry plants weren't in season for fruiting, but the waterlogged crops could still be damaged.

Yesterday morning, he said one tonne wooden post piles were pushed hundreds of metres by the flood waters. Some are now in the ocean along with a portaloo that was at the site. Large hay bales from the nearby farms are now sitting in the orchard.

Water in the orchard is thigh high in some areas. An underground flood pump has been set up to try and drain the crops.

Eskdale Holiday Park's owners say they were lucky, and that all of the guests on site at the time were happy to get out of there as the water rose.

Mr Alison says he used a jet boat yesterday to help a farmer rescue cows from floodwaters.  

More than 80 homes in Eskdale and Rissington are also being checked for flooding by buildings inspectors after yesterday's torrential rain.

There's no report back yet to the council over how many of the homes, deemed at risk from a helicopter flight yesterday, have actually flooded.

Hastings District Council spokesperson Diane Joyce says while the heavy rain was expected with severe weather warnings in place, the council didn't think the localised downpour in the areas just north of Napier would be so heavy and damaging.

It's too early to say whether monetary support from the council will be offered as they are still getting a grasp of how bad residential damage is.

Jo and Owen Bell say there were families living at the Eskdale Caravan Park whose belongings were washed away by the Esk River yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS

The catchment area of Esk River remains swollen. Ms Joyce said the local council and regional council would review whether more stop banks in the area were needed and if anything could have changed how flooded the rivers became.

Eskdale motor camp resident Jo Bell said they need answers from the council as to why the Esk River was dammed up, with the result when the water broke through turning the campground into a wasteland.

Campground cleaner Peter Stafford said the flood was a once in a lifetime event and didn't think any measures could have improved what happened, which no one expected. Mud and silt is so thick at the campsite that residents are struggling to walk through it.

Thirty years after the country's most costly storm hit the area, Cyclone Bola, many locals can't believe they're now cleaning up mess in the area again.

Many residents say while Cyclone Bola came over several days and caused more damage on the whole, the speed and impact of the flooding at Eskdale was worse this time round.

Jordan Alison's cherry orchard was turned into a lake in the torrential rains yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS

Weekend's most read: Noisy street racers disrupting terminally ill Timaru hospice patients' final days

This story was first published on Saturday September 16.

Timaru’s Hospice is pleading for quiet and some respect after noisy night time drivers have been disturbing their terminally ill patients.

Timaru’s Hospice is pleading for quiet and respect for their patients. Source: 1 NEWS

After a long battle with throat cancer Charles Roebuck’s been given just days to live, but he says his final nights are being disrupted by street racers speeding down the road around the Hospice.

“Here I am quietly getting some rest and next thing this is a race-strip,” Hospice patient Charles Roebuck told 1 NEWS.

He’s not the first patient to complain about the disruption.

“We thank him very much for raising this issue of the traffic around Hospice, because we work here and we’re not as conscious often as the patients are,” says Hospice South Canterbury general manager Peter O’Neill.

Hospice staff are asking driver for a little consideration for their patients.

"To think that is might be one of their relatives one day or one of their friends and just that due respect for common decency I suppose," says Mr O’Neill.

Mr Roebuck has even written a letter to the Timaru District Council with his concerns.

“This place is soundproofed, I mean it's got double glazing, but with those cars zapping backwards and forwards."

The council says they’ve only just become aware of the issue and are now looking at options for putting up signs to encourage people to slow down.



NZ energy use unsustainable in switch to renewables

A four year study on energy usage in New Zealand households warns current trends will not be sustainable when the country makes the complete switch to renewable energy.

The NZ Green Grid project investigated the energy usage of 45 North Island properties, and isolated the energy use down to what appliances were using the electricity.

The study found increased heatpump use over winter and the increase use of electric vehicles could use more energy than what is presently possible from renewable sources.

It also found the average house had between two and three appliances for refrigeration.

Energy Research Centre co-director Michael Jack said the infrastructure and market structures needed to change.

"Wind is variable. It's only generating when the wind blows.

"Solar is generating during the middle of the day, when there's less demand for it.

"What you need to do is either shift your demand to those time when the renewables are being produced or somehow store those renewables for use at later times," he said.

Dr Jack said one possible option was using heatpumps that were set on a thermostat, where temperatures could be lowered during certain hours of the day.

He said if changes were not made, the switch to completely renewable energy would be a costly.

A four year study on energy usage in New Zealand households warns current trends will not be sustainable when the country makes the complete switch to renewable energy. Source:


Only nine resource consents lodged since council botch-up

The Auckland Council has received just nine new resource consent applications, after it revealed that it bungled more than 400 consents for home alterations.

The council admitted a fortnight ago that it misinterpreted its own rules, and property owners in suburbs like Grey Lynn and Ponsonby where special character rules apply would need new consents.

The problem affected consents granted between December 2016 and December last year.

The council said it has now contacted all potentially affected property owners.

It would now be reviewing each consent to work out whether or not the property was affected by the botch-up.

It was prioritising those consents that have also been granted building consent. It was estimated there were about 150 properties in this position.

There were five properties where building work had already started.

So far the council has received nine new resource consent applications and granted two.

It was urging everyone who it had contacted to get in touch to let the council know where they were at in implementing their consents.

The council has said it would cover the cost of the new resource consent applications.

It would also look at compensation or mediation for those more adversely affected.

The problem arose when the Environment Court disagreed with how the council was applying the extra rules that applied in special character areas.

It said those rules should not take precedence over the underlying zoning rules and both should apply when resource consent applications were considered.

Some homeowners may have to make changes to their plans to comply with the new interpretation of the rules, the council said.

The council said it would look at making changes to the Unitary Plan to clarify the rules, but that process could take at least a year.

"New residential land under development in Auckland, New Zealand. Shortages of housing in the city means new subdivisions are quickly filled. Shortage of housing is also leading to high house prices. This is Kensington Park north of Auckland. Modern infill compact housing."
Houses in Auckland (file picture). Source:

Armed police at the scene of a fight in Lower Hutt where a man was killed

Armed police are at the scene where a man was killed in a fight in Lower Hutt last night.

The 29-year-old victim was attacked near the intersection of High Street and Burcham Street, in Taitā, at around 7.45pm.

The man's body will be removed from the scene for a post-mortem examination this afternoon while a scene examination on High Street continues.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Leitch said one man, an associate of the victim, was charged with assault and has since been released on bail.

Police are still seeking a second man, who was seen leaving the area in a silver station wagon, in relation to the incident.

Police have since seized the vehicle for testing after is was spotted nearby on Pringle Street.

It's believed items of interest may have been discarded by the occupants of the vehicle, and police are asking residents in the surrounding areas of Burcham Street, Macky Street, Pringle Street and Churton Crescent to search surrounding areas for anything which may be relevant to the investigation.

The man has been described as being of Māori descent with a solid build, dark curly hair and facial tattoos.

He was last seen wearing a black top and pants, and may have received a facial injury in the incident. 

Anyone who witnessed the incident or saw either the silver station wagon or any suspicious activity shortly after 7.45 pm has been urged to contact police.

Armed police are at the scene where a man was killed in a fight in Lower Hutt last night with police hoping to remove the body from the scene this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS