State of emergency declared in Marlborough as rain continues

August 19, 2022

A recap of 1News' live updates as another day of heavy rain continued for much of the country, including hard-hit Nelson.

What you need to know

  • A red heavy rain warning remains in place for Nelson
  • 21 hours of renewed downpours are expected in the city from 3pm on Friday
  • A state of emergency remains in place for Nelson, Tasman and the West Coast
  • The number of homes evacuated in Nelson has risen to more than 400
  • A number of weather watches and warnings are in place for around NZ

Live updates

9pm: That concludes 1News' live updates for Friday. For the latest news on the wild weather across Nelson, Tasman and the West Coast, check the 1News website and 1News at 6pm.

8.40pm: Tasman District Police are advising motorists in the Marlborough region to avoid any non-essential travel, saying driving conditions are extremely poor, with surface flooding, slips, and low visibility due to heavy rainfall.

7.50pm: Heavy rain warnings have been lifted for North Taranaki and the Tararua Range.

The red heavy rain warning remains in place for Nelson.

An orange heavy rain warning remains in place for Northland, Mount Taranaki, the Tasman District west of Motueka, the Marlborough Sounds, Rai Valley, the Richmond Range, Buller and Westland.



6.10pm: State Highway 59 between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay will remain closed following a further slip on the route this afternoon.

Waka Kotahi says the slope is too unstable for the route to reopen, and it will stay closed overnight. An update on its status will be provided by midday tomorrow.

Road users should avoid the area and use State Highway 1, Transmission Gully, as an alternative route.

5:15pm: Marlborough has joined Nelson in declaring a state of emergency over the deluge of rain this week.

A state of local emergency was declared at 4.30pm on Friday by Marlborough Mayor, John Leggett.

"This declaration will ensure our emergency response team has all the resources it needs to effectively support those communities affected by the recent rain event," he said.

A statement from the mayor stated the Rai River had its biggest flood on record, estimated as a 60-year event.

"Over 550mm of rainfall has been recorded at the Rai Falls so far, while Tunakino Valley has seen more than 760mm of rainfall since Tuesday," the statement reads

"Communities in Canvastown and Rai Valley are currently cut off from Marlborough and Nelson due to flooding, slips and road damage. Access in and out of the Marlborough Sounds is also very fragile," Leggett said.

"These communities will need assistance and support for weeks and months to come."


4.30pm: Some good news from sodden Northland, as Far North District Council says despite rain warnings still in effect, the severe weather event is "slowly subsiding".

"Our road maintenance crews continue to work to clear impacted areas to ensure public safety on our roads."

4.25pm: A reminder Nelson is still under a red rain warning from 3pm on Friday until noon tomorrow.

Northland is under an orange rain warning from 9am on Friday until midnight tonight.

Click here for the latest MetService weather warnings and watches.

3.40pm: Significant news as a major road will be out of action until at least early next week.

3.35pm: The latest rain radar image from 3:20pm shows more heavy rain approaching Northland and rain again building around Nelson.

3pm: Footage shows two cars submerged under floodwaters near Kaeo in the Far North.

Updates on Northland road closures:

• SH10 Kaeo to Mangonui - CLOSED (flooding)

• SH1 Mangamuka Gorge - CLOSED due to slips and ground movement. Note the standard detour is via SH10 which is also closed between Kaeo and Manganui, so there is limited road access to the Far North at the moment)

2.15pm: Tasman Region Civil Defence Emergency Management group controller Alec Louverdis teared up at the media conference describing the damaging weather event.

"We went for a drive yesterday - and I’m the group manager for infrastructure for the Nelson City Council - and the damage that I saw in Nelson was heart breaking, I think we are years away from a recovery.

"As we were driving there were slips falling everywhere."

2.05pm: Tasman Region Civil Defence Emergency Management group controller Alec Louverdis says 411 homes have been evacuated in Nelson.

Ten homes have been red or yellow stickered due to heavy damage.

Heavy rain is expected again from 5pm on Friday until 10am on Saturday.

Another 130mm of rain could fall in this period.

He says slips in the area are "too numerous to count".

1.40pm: Nelson Tasman Civil Defence will be addressing media with the latest updates at 2pm.

1.25pm: State Highway 6 running through Whangamoa Saddle, near Nelson, is in a sorry state due to slips and flooding.

Slip on State Highway 6.


12.25pm: Footage supplied from Nelson Marlborough Helicopter Rescue Trust reveals the extent of flooding from the air.

11.55am: Nelson’s state of emergency has forced New Zealand Rugby to cancel the Round 6 Bunnings Warehouse Farah Palmer Cup) match between Tasman and Hawke’s Bay.

It had been scheduled to kick off at Trafalgar Park tomorrow.

11.45am: View a photo gallery of today's weather at the link below.

Photos: Flooding causes damage and disruption in Nelson, Northland

11.20am: Clear evidence the terrible weather has arrived from the tropics.

READ MORE: Kaitaia records NZ's warmest minimum August temperature

10.40am: Far North District Council has given an update on the situation there as rain continues to fall:

As of 9am today, four Far North district roads remain closed.

Mangamuka Rd (slip), Paponga Rd (fallen tree), Pupuke-Mangapa Rd (flooding), West Coast Rd (Kohukohu) (slip) are closed.

No homes needed to be evacuated overnight in Kaitāia. However, some Kaitāia residents did leave their homes to stay with friends and whānau overnight as a precaution.


10.25am: MetService says New Plymouth has recorded its wettest August day in 55 years. Records began in 1944:

10.20am: Westport Mayor Jamie Cleine has spoken with 1News reporter Lisa Davies.

Westport is currently covered by an orange heavy rain warning from 7pm on Friday until 11am on Saturday.

"It's great to be able to breathe a sigh of relief today as things look to be sort of scaling down," Cleine said.

He said the incoming rain looks to be "quite short and sharp" over a five or six-hour period. With river levels receding as well, he remarked he's not too worried.

"The feeling is that should be OK."

Buller Civil Defence has said it's remaining on standby over the weekend as the region-wide state of emergency is in place until Monday.

Bunds, sandbags and inflatable barriers are largely remaining in place, until the threat of further flooding has passed.

10.10am: MetService has lifted a number of weather warnings and watches. You can head here to see the changes.

The red heavy rain warning remains in place for Nelson.

An orange heavy rain warning remains in place for Northland, parts of Taranaki, the Tasman District west of Motueka, the Tararua Range, Marlborough Sounds, Rai Valley, Richmond Range, Buller and Westland.

A heavy rain watch remains in place for the Tasman District from Motueka eastwards and parts of Marlborough.

9.50am: Residents in Nelson and Tasman are being asked to stay home if they don't have to travel.

"The roads around the Nelson and Tasman District are a real mess with key routes shut down which puts pressure on other roads," Nelson City Council said.

"We need to ensure we have access as needed so we can help residents as quickly as we can, and when the roads are blocked up with traffic, it doesn't help anyone."

9.45am: There's also a slip in Pukerua Bay:

9.40am: A slip is affecting SH3 Mount Messenger in Taranaki:

9.30am: For the third consecutive night, Whangārei & Auckland have set records for the warmest August night:

9.05am: Nelson Tasman Civil Defence says rivers - especially the Maitai - are "remaining stubbornly high" and a lot of hills are unstable, so that is why those evacuated can't return home yet.

"We need to make sure you can get in safely, and also that you won't need to turn around and evacuate again when the next chunk of rain hits us," it said in a Facebook post, centred on key questions those in Nelson have.

"We know how important it is for people to get some certainty and we want to give it to you, but safety is number one."

9am: Several homes have evacuated since severe weather hit the region, Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management says.

It said in a Facebook post river levels are rising and some homes are experiencing flooding and leaking sewerage.

"Taranaki Civil Defence is monitoring the situation and we are responding as needed," it said.

8.35am: Rain's spreading into the upper South Island again:

8.10: Dawson Falls at Mount Taranaki has recorded a lot of rain over the last few days:

8am: Police are urging motorists to take care on the roads in Taranaki, saying bad weather is causing a number of issues.

The issues include motorists hitting potholes due to a lack of visibility and surface flooding.

North Taranaki is under an orange heavy rain warning until 10am on Friday. Mount Taranaki is under the same warning until midnight.

Parts of Taranaki have also experienced strong winds.

7.50am: Rain continues to fall in the Far North. A number of state highways remain closed due to flooding, slips and fallen trees.

State Highway 1 Kaitaia to Ohaewai remains closed due to flooding at the Rangiahua Bridge. It's also closed between Larmer and Church roads, just south of Kaitaia.

State Highway 1 Mangamuka Gorge between Kitchen Rd and Makene Rd remains closed due to multiple large slips.

State Highway 10 Kaeo to Mangonui remains closed due to flooding. It is also closed between Inland and Aurere Beach roads.

7.30am: A reminder of Friday's forecast:

7.20am: More from Nelson mayor Rachel Reese's Breakfast interview:

Reese warned more homes may have to be evacuated. She said the total number of homes evacuated is now around 411.

She said a small number of the homes evacuated are uninhabitable, which will be "devastating" for those affected.

Authorities are working "as fast as we can" to assess the safety of evacuated homes, Reese said.

She asked residents living on hillsides to be prepared to self-evacuate. If they notice cracks opening, poles leaning or piles of dirt where previously there were none, they should look to leave.

Reese described stability on the hills as the "biggest problem" at the moment.

The mayor also warned the city's recovery will take time.

"It's not going to be easy. It's going to be years of recovery and it's going to be tough."

7.05am: Nelson mayor Rachel Reese spoke to Breakfast and told Nelson residents to conserve water due to issues with the main water supply line. It's thought a slip is responsible.

Reese said drinking water is fine and there are no quality issues.

6.25am: Another spell of heavy rain is expected to hit much of the North and South islands from Friday into Saturday. Here's a summary of some of the watches and warnings outside of Nelson:

An orange heavy rain warning remains in place for the Tasman District West of Motueka, Westland and Buller through until Saturday afternoon and for Northland until 11am on Friday.

In Northland on Thursday some Kaitaia residents were evacuated due to surface flooding. Multiple roads in the Far North were closed due to the severe weather.

MetService also says severe north to northeasterly gales are possible for northern and central Aotearoa.

The forecaster advises people to keep up-to-date with the latest forecast.