The most northern part of NZ remains cut off to the public, after a part of State Highway One, north of Kaitaia, was washed out in heavy rain last week.

A small convoy of vehicles was able to get through a private forestry track this morning, while hundreds of students and locals were advised to stay at home.

Local Mark Nathan from Te Aupōuri says it’s really affected the community.

“I haere au ki te kite kua waipukengia hoki, waipukengia te rori. Koinā noa iho he rori kua waipukengia. Koia koia. Ko te mutunga o te ao.”

The only access is through a forest track as the main route between Kaitaia and Cape Reinga is closed off near Pukenui, due to a hole in the road 20 metres long and 4-5 meters deep.

Nathan says the hole is only about 20 kilometres from his home.

“Meinga meinga, mēnā e hiahia ana te haere ki ngā tāone ērā mea katoa mā te pirihimana ārahi i roto te ngahere nē.”

Regional Minister Shane Jones says it’s a huge wake-up call.

“Look it’s a wakeup call in the face of resilience planning. It’s a wakeup call for the Transit Authority. The locals have complained to me about coverts not adequately being monitored. But do you know what it shows is that there is a lot of neglect in the more obscure areas.”

Nathan who is a millworker at JNL was unable to go to work and he says his family have had to stay home and five of his grandchildren are among hundreds of students who aren’t able to go to school.

“Kei konei katoa, e tākaro ana, e harihari ana. E rua rā pea rātou e noho ana ki konei ngā tamariki katoa i te kāinga nei. Tērā pea ka mutu te rā nei, ka hōhā katoa mātou ngā mokopuna. Hoki atu ki te kura.”

State Highway One is expected to reopen mid-week.

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