Response to deadly Auckland floods now 'under the microscope'

Sun, Jan 29

For a recap of the wild weather which battered the Auckland region as it happened, scroll down the page.

What you need to know:

  • Aucklanders are being advised to stay home and avoid non-essential travel. Many roads and public transport services remain blocked throughout the region.
  • A state of emergency has been declared in Auckland after - it will remain in place for seven days. Three evacuation centres have been stood up.
  • MetService says Friday was Auckland's wettest day on record. Civil Defence duty controller Andrew Clark says the "situation has stabilised significantly" this morning.
  • About 2000 people sheltered overnight in Auckland Airport's terminals after flight departures were cancelled due to the weather. Domestic flights have resumed, while international flights are set to resume early on Sunday morning.
  • Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has urged Aucklanders to support each other as floodwaters remain high. The Defence Force has flown Hipkins to the city. Meanwhile, mayor Wayne Brown is under fire for how long it took him to declare a state of emergency last night.

Civil Defence evacuation centres

Three refuge centres have been stood up to provide shelter for people evacuating from flooded homes. These are in Kelston, Albany and Manurewa.

  • West Auckland: St Leonards Road School, 15 Saint Leonards Road, Kelston
  • North Auckland: Massey University Albany Campus, Sir Neil Walters Lecture Theatre, Massey University East Precinct, Albany Expressway SH17
  • South Auckland: Mana Tukutuku, 32 Riverton Drive, Manurewa

12.20am: That concludes 1News' live updates. For a recap of the Auckland floods as it happened, scroll down.

For more up to date coverage of the wild weather, check back with 1News later this morning.

12.17am: MetService is tracking "a number for intense thunderstorms to the east of Auckland".

"We may issue a red Thunderstorm Warning for localised areas if they are intense," the meteorological service said early this morning on Twitter.

12.13am: International arrivals at Auckland Airport can resume from 7am on Sunday, while international departures can resume from 5am, the airport said in a media update just before midnight Saturday.

Security and border processes will be open from 3.30am.

The first international flight is scheduled to depart at 6am.

Hot food, snacks and blankets were handed out to the remaining passengers stranded overnight, the airport said in its update.

"While the majority of passengers have been able to secure accommodation today with either friends and family or the city’s accommodation providers, some have been unable to find a bed for the night," said Auckland Airport chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui.

"Given many will have been at the airport since yesterday afternoon, it was very important to us that their welfare was taken care of.

"Around 50 people will also be able to stay the night at the Auckland Airport marae, Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa. We are very grateful to the marae for their support."

10.04pm: The Interislander ferry has docked at the terminal this evening.

Passengers told 1News they were relieved to be on the ground, and said the teams were very good at communicating updates.

Many of the people on board the vessel, including children, were struggling with sea sickness.

An Interislander ferry which lost power in the middle of the Cook Strait has docked this evening.

9.40pm: Here's an update on road closures in the Auckland region.

9.39pm: Te Kūiti Pā has opened its doors for anyone affected by the flooding in the Waitomo District.

9.35pm: Meanwhile, Auckland officials' response to the deadly floods are now under the microscope.

It comes after Auckland mayor Wayne Brown was grilled at a media conference after assessing the damage this afternoon.

9.28pm: The Interislander ferry with stranded passengers has now docked, according to Marine Traffic.

9.19pm: Auckland Emergency Management has put out a media release reminding Aucklanders to stay safe with more wet weather anticipated over the long weekend.

"This has been an incredibly challenging 24 hours for our communities and recovery will take some time," says Auckland Emergency Management duty controller Rachel Kelleher.

"We want people to keep themselves safe, keep an eye on upcoming weather reports and to stay home if it is safe to do so."

Kelleher urged people to stay home overnight if it is safe to do so and to avoid any unnecessary travel.

People who must evacuate has been advised not to drive through floodwaters and to remember to pack essential items with them.

Auckland Emergency Management will begin providing daily updates from tomorrow. They will be released at 8am, 1pm and 4pm tomorrow and Monday.

"In the meantime, Auckland Emergency Management has announced a pop-up community and agency information hub will open at the Māngere Memorial Hall, 23 Domain Rd, Māngere Bridge tomorrow," she said.

"Agencies and community groups, alongside Auckland Emergency Management, will be there to provide needs assessments and offer support."

Further information from Auckland Emergency Management on where to get help and how to stay safe amid the emergency is available on their website.

9.13pm: MetService has updated its severe weather watches for the final time this evening.

"A slow moving low is expected to remain just west of the upper North Island until Tuesday when it moves eastward into the Tasman Sea," MetService said.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui and Taranaki from 3.30pm to 9pm tomorrow.

Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Taupo have the same watch in place for a longer period, ending at 7am Sunday.

Metservice has also put out a heavy rain warning for the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty from Kawerau westwards, Bay of Plenty east of Kawerau and Gisborne north of Ruatoria - beginning Saturday evening and ending around midday Sunday, with the latter two regions ending midnight Saturday.

Auckland and Hawke's Bay south of Wairoa have heavy rain watches; the former lasting 24 hours from 6am Sunday to 6am Monday, and the later lasting only seven hours from 8pm Saturday to 3am Sunday.

Severe weather watches and warnings will continue to be updated tomorrow as forecasts change.

9.09pm: The ferry stranded in the Cook Strait is coming into the harbour.

9.07pm: "The slip on SH25A Kōpū-Hikuai has suffered a further significant slip this afternoon and is closed until further notice," the Thames-Coromandel District Council said on Facebook in the last hour.

The slip on SH25A Kōpū-Hikuai has suffered a further significant slip.

9.03pm: Police and ambulances can be seen at the Kaiwharawhara ferry terminal as they await the arrival of the passengers on board the Interislander ferry stranded in the Cook Strait.

The vessel is expected to arrive shortly.

Ambulances waiting for stranded Interislander passengers at the Kaiwharawhara ferry terminal in Wellington.

8.45pm: Waitomo District mayor John Roberston has declared a state of emergency for the Waitomo District, Waikato.

The local state of emergency will come into effect immediately, and will remain in force for seven days.

Robertson says the district has experienced widespread flooding and heavy rain, with reports of flooding, slips and people being evacuated.

"The situation in Waitomo is serious," said Robertson.

"With nightfall upon us and more rain expected, it’s important we are prepared and have the right controls in place to provide help and support, including further evacuations."

Waitomo District mayor John Roberston declaring a state of emergency for Waitomo District.

The declaration was signed following formal advice from CDEM duty controller Wayne Allan, according to a media release from the Waitomo District Council.

Residents are being urged to stay at home and not venture out into the weather, and to stay up to date via the Waitomo District Council’s Facebook page and website.

8.38pm: Auckland Zoo will be closed tomorrow due to the flooding, Auckland Emergency Management says.

"Like many of us across Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland, our zoo grounds have been significantly impacted by the volume of rain we experienced yesterday.

"Because of this, team has decided to keep the zoo closed for tomorrow Sunday 29 January to allow the water to subside and give our hard working zookeepers and facilities staff time to monitor the animals and make sure we are ready to welcome our wonderful visitors."

8.34pm: Road closures in Auckland and north of the region.

8.30pm: Here's an update of road closures in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay due to the severe weather this evening.

8.27pm: Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has conceded information regarding the "evolving emergency situation and the work of thousands of emergency personnel should have been better communicated yesterday evening".

"Areas for improvement will be identified in the review he and the Prime Minister have promised," the Office of the Mayor of Auckland said on Twitter this evening.

Regular media briefings from Auckland CDEM officials will begin tomorrow and the mayor will meet with business leaders to identify what support they need from the council.

8.13pm: A Māngere family is grateful for the wider community's support after losing almost everything they own in the Auckland floods.

Read the full story here: Flood-hit Māngere family thanks community support through devastation

8.03pm: The Interislander Kaitaki ferry stranded in the Cook Strait after losing power is expected to arrive at the Kaiwharawhara ferry terminal shortly after 9pm this evening, KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy says.

"The vessel is moving under its own power, but is being accompanied by tug boats as a precaution.

"The vessel is travelling slowly, so will take time to reach the wharf."

7.43pm: Contractors hard at work clearing SH1 at Pūhoi.

Contractors hard at work clearing SH1 at Pūhoi.

7.37pm: Work is underway to clear SH1 over Northland's Brynderwyn Hills today after large slips forced its closure between the State Highway 12 intersection and Waipu, the New Zealand Transport Agency's regional manager of maintenance and operations, Jacqui Hori-Hoult, said.

While contractors have made "significant progress" clearing the road, "we still have trees to clear and the road needs to be cleaned and swept before we can re-open", she said.

7.28pm: Here's a photo of the collapse at the summit of SH25A between Kopu and Hikuai, in Coromandel.

The collapse at the summit of SH25A between Kopu and Hikuai, Coromandel.

7.24pm: An 81-year-old was forced to sleep on the floor after travellers were left stranded at Auckland Airport last night.

7.09pm: 1News took a tour of the Auckland suburb of Henderson earlier today after it was hit by heavy flooding.

7.02pm: Police say they will be carrying out extra patrols in flood-hit areas of Auckland.

"With a number of people unable to return to their homes at present, Police are re-deploying available staff to help," police said.

"They will be conducting reassurance patrols on streets and at vulnerable properties.

"We understand many people will be worried, and these patrols aim to help bring some piece of mind for those who can't yet get home."

Neighbours are being urged to look out for each other and to call police if they see anything suspicious.

7pm: The Auckland Regional Public Health Service says people should avoid floodwater where possible and children should not play in it.

"In addition to the danger of drowning and debris, floodwater may also be contaminated with sewage, faecal matter, farm run off and other hazardous materials.

"There are many potential health risks from this, including gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting), skin infections and eye infections."

People who have come into contact with the flood water, flooded property or contaminated items should wash their hands with soap and water, and to dry them thoroughly afterwards.

6.45pm: Meanwhile, emergency services have been overwhelmed with calls for help.

Rescue crews have so far been called out to over 2000 calls, and are still working through a backlog.

6.36pm: KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy says a 2.15pm ferry from Kaitaki to Picton "temporarily lost propulsion power near the end of its journey to Wellington".

"The ferry has dropped anchor and is sitting off Wellington’s south coast," he told 1News in a statement.

"The approximately 800 passengers plus 80 crew onboard are safe. However, as is standard practice, life jackets have been issued as a precaution."

Reidy said tug boats "have left Wellington and will be used to assist if required".

"We are focused on ensuring the comfort and wellbeing of passengers, are keeping them updated, and will offer additional support when they arrive into Wellington.

"We will be investigating the cause of the temporary loss of power."

6.34pm: Aucklanders woke to widespread damage after Friday's floods.

6.28pm: Passengers on board the stranded Cook Strait ferry may getting towed to safety, one passenger says.

6.23pm: Auckland mayor Wayne Brown and Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni has visited people at the St Leonard evacuation centre in Kelston today.

6.20pm: Slips on State Highway 2 at Te Karaka is reportedly completely blocking the highway near Gisborne, police say.

"Motorists should expect long delays while contractors clear road, and anyone who needs to travel in the region is urged to take care," police said.

Up to date information on any delays or road closures can be found on the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website.

(file image)

6.16pm: MetService is warning of further rainfall for Auckland, but it's unlikely to match the severity seen over the past 36 hours.

"The main rain band has moved off to the east of Auckland for the time being and there are a number of Orange Warnings and Watches in place around the North Island," MetService meteorologist Angus Hines said this afternoon.

"The main rain band returns to Auckland and Northland later on Sunday but rain will come and go for many areas in the North Island."

The weather forecaster said while the upcoming rain "should not match the intensity of what has been, impacts are expected to be severe and wide reaching because of the saturated ground".

"More flooding will occur through many northern regions in the coming days."

6.10pm: "Thunderstorms could hit western parts of Auckland and Northland in the next few hours," MetService says.

6.05pm: "Ship lost power. Emergency declared. Life jackets on everyone, at assembly points. Head counts been done. People are calm. Ship is anchored awaiting tugs," a passenger told 1News.

Interislander passenger ferry (file picture).

6.04pm: Thirty residents were evacuated from a rest home in Pukekohe as floodwaters rose and threatened the facility last night, police say.

"Water was gushing down a driveway and into the building, putting those inside at risk," Counties Manukau South area commander Inspector Joe Hunter said.

"Police had blocked off the road due to concerns about rising water levels, and staff called for vans to be brought to a safe point."

Hunter said rescuers "waded through waist-deep water and brought all the residents to safety".

The residents were transferred to Pukekohe Hospital. No one was injured in the incident.

Rescuers wading through waist-deep water to help evacuate residents from a Pukekohe rest home.

5.58pm: Auckland mayor Wayne Brown was pulled away from a press conference about the Auckland floods earlier today after it became heated.

The full story can be found here: Wayne Brown pulled away from testy Auckland flood conference

5.55pm: A ferry is on standby with two tugs on its way to help passengers stranded on the Cook Strait, Stuff reports.

5.51pm: The Interislander Kaitaki ferry has issued a mayday, the New Zealand Herald is reporting.

5.43pm: Passengers on board a Cook Strait ferry say the vessel has lost power. Anchors have been dropped and passengers are putting on life jackets, footage posted to Twitter shows.

5.39pm: Fire and Emergency services are evacuating residents following a landslip on Scenic Dr, Swanson.

Three homes are being threatened after a landslide went through a home on Scenic Dr, in Swanson.

A close-up of a home damaged following the landslip.

A landslip has gone through a home on Scenic Dr, Swanson.

5.32pm: People and dogs alike can be seen frolicking in the newly-formed 'lake' in Auckland Domain.

Frolicking in the 'lake' in Auckland Domain.

Here, a person can be seen kitesurfing on the water.

People kitesurfing on the newly-formed 'lake' in Auckland Domain.

5.23pm: A landslip has gone through a house and is now threatening three other properties on Scenic Dr, Swanson, a Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesperson told 1News.

Fire and Emergency services are in attendance helping to evacuate residents up to Puketaha Rd.

Here's an image of some earlier damage on Scenic Dr. Trees can be seen strewn along the road.

Damage on Scenic Drive, in west Auckland, following the floods.

5.15pm: An 81-year-old was forced to sleep on the floor last night after travellers were left stranded at Auckland Airport.

As many as 2000 people were impacted, with many complaining about a lack of support and communication from the airport.

The full story can be found here: 81-year-old sleeps on floor as travellers stuck at Auckland Airport

5.02pm: "Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by the AKL flooding," Green Party co-leader James Shaw said on Twitter this afternoon.

"This is climate change. We all have a responsibility to make certain the NZ we leave our kids is safe & habitable."

4.54pm: Birkenhead restaurant Real Burger is distributing free food to people in need in the Auckland area.

"We understand everyone's been through a very tough time right now and we want to do as much as we can to help everyone in need," Real Burger said on Facebook.

"We are happy to give out free food to everyone in need in the Auckland area."

People in need have been urged to reach out to the crew by sending a private message.

4.46pm: Manurewa Marae in Clendon Park is offering assistance to flood-affected Aucklanders.

4.44pm: An image of fallen trees blocking a road in Laingholm.

Fallen trees in Laingholm.

Here's another image, this time of fallen trees in Rānui, west Auckland.

Fallen trees blocking a road in Rānui, west Auckland.

4.32pm: Around 3800 Vector customers were without power at 3pm, with 3100 of them in areas that are currently impossible to access, a Vector spokesperson told 1News.

"Fallen trees and slips in the west have blocked the roads, and a bridge has been swept away, including near Laingholm, Bethells Beach, Riverhead, Coatesville, Titirangi and Swanson.

"We are working with Civil Defence and NZTA on how to get through, but these areas are likely to be without power for some considerable time. We advise customers to prepare themselves for extended outages in the areas where access is cut-off.

Vector wants to reassure communities that we understand how difficult it is to be without power and our crews will continue to do everything they safely can to respond to outages and restore power to homes and businesses once we can reach them."

The spokesperson said Vector's gas network "has also been affected, but to a much lesser extent".

"We have carried out disconnections at a handful of properties that have been damaged by landslides and collapsed retaining walls."

A damaged power line in Coatesville.

4.28pm: A full video of PM Chris Hipkins and Auckland mayor Wayne Brown speaking to media after surveying damage from the Auckland floods can be found below:

Full video: Hipkins and Brown speak after surveying Auckland floods

4.27pm: A full list of road closures in the Auckland region can be found here.

4.24pm: NIWA says "odds are growing for more widespread, heavy rain along with strong wind gusts" for the North Island next week.

4.09pm: Duty controller Clark says initial communication to the public was slow, to begin with, but that it picked up later in the night as the response ramped up.

4.02pm: Brown says declaring a state of emergency was "just a small part of the whole thing".

"We're at no stage where we're short of resources out there. We have full confidence in these gentlemen and their training and resources," he said gesturing to officials.,

"When we found out they're overwhelmed, at that stage, they said sign this thing, and we signed it within two minutes."

3.57pm: Auckland Emergency Management duty controller Andrew Clark is defending Civil Defence's response - which he described as a "crisis within a crisis" on the ground.

He said pre-arranged evacuation centres were unable to be used and that replacements needed to be found last minute.

3.53pm: Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has defended his office's response to the flooding last night.

"It took a lot of concentration, it happened quickly, and the response was way quicker than people acknowledge," he said.

"There were thousands of people out there before we announced the emergency declaration."

3.51pm: Hipkins says Kāinga Ora fielded 103 calls overnight - with approximately half seeking temporary accommodation. The PM said additional central government funding would given to establish a mayoral relief fund.

"We are anticipating further bad weather...don't take that [blue sky] for granted yet."

3.47pm: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has re-urged Aucklanders to stay home if they can.

"The levels of devastation in some areas is considerable," the PM said.

"Our priority is to ensure that Aucklanders are safe, that they are housed and that they have access to the essential services that they need.

"The loss of life underscores just the sheer scale of this weather event and how quickly it turned tragic."

He has also affirmed that supermarkets were open throughout the city and that "there is no need for panic buying."

3:41pm: Hipkins has begun speaking - next to him are Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty, Transport Minister Michael Wood, and Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.

The PM addresses Aucklanders.

3.30pm: We're being told the media stand-up is a couple of minutes away. Hipkins and Brown are speaking from a fire station in West Auckland.

Chris Hipkins greets firefighters in West Auckland.

3.23pm: We're currently awaiting an imminent media stand-up in Auckland with Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and the city's mayor Wayne Brown.

Watch the live stream here

This media conference is being live-streamed on and will be broadcast live on TVNZ 1. There will also be live updates on this page if you cannot listen in.

3.17pm: There will be no international passenger departures at Auckland Airport until 5am tomorrow, Auckland Airport said today in a media release.

There will also be no international passenger arrivals at Auckland Airport until 7am tomorrow.

"This has been a significant event that has put our city into a state of emergency, and certainly the airport has never been tested in this way before. But the delay to reopening is necessary to ensure travellers’ safety," Auckland Airport chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui said.

Hurihanganui said flooding overnight has "significantly impacted a number of critical components of our airport terminal infrastructure".

"We have been working with urgency today to try and get everything dry, tested and working again, but our assessment is we need more time to make sure it is all working well and more importantly, safely, before we resume international operations."

3.13pm: Here's a chart of rainfall totals so far during this weather event.

3.01pm: A third person has died following the floods. The body was found by Fire and Emergency staff working at an Auckland property earlier today, police told 1News.

A further two people remaining missing.

Inquiries will be made on behalf of the coroner.

2.56pm: An investigation has been launched after a Boeing 777 aircraft on a Melbourne to Auckland flight lost control on the ground after landing at Auckland International Airport.

Wind gusts and heavy rain saw the aircraft veer away from the runway centre line, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission's chief investigator of accidents, Naveen Kozhuppakalam, said.

"There was damage reported to six runway edge lights and to the aircraft’s undercarriage assembly, including deflation of one tyre," he said.

"We've received no reports of injuries to passengers or crew."

Passengers on Auckland-bound flights spend hours flying to nowhere

2.49pm: A live stream of the press conference with Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Auckland mayor Wayne Brown will be aired live on TVNZ1 and online.

Washed out bridge north of Auckland.

The press conference is scheduled for 3.15pm but may be running late as the Prime Minister continues his tour of the flood-damaged region.

2.45pm: There are 30 road closures remaining in place as of 12.30pm today, Auckland Transport's interim chief executive Mark Lambert says.

"We are currently operating approximately 80% of our scheduled bus service timetable, and ferries are now operating on most routes other than Hobsonville Point. Trains are not operating because of KiwiRail’s weekend rail network closure, with rail bus replacements in place," Lambert said.

"On the road network there are still a range of road closures in place, with Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi maintenance teams working to clear these closures when it is safe and practical to do so.

"After a significant flooding event like yesterday there will be damage that is immediately obvious as well as damage that will take longer repair.

"It will take time for us to assess and repair the damage caused by yesterday’s flooding, so we’re asking Aucklanders for their patience as we work through this carefully."

2.41pm: Fire and Emergency say they're working through a backlog of around 1355 less urgent 111 calls from last night, and contacting callers to see whether they still need assistance this morning.

"We are helping dewater people’s homes and carrying out damage assessment, working closely with Auckland Emergency Management and our emergency services partners," says FENZ district manager Brad Mosby.

"I want to thank all our people who’ve been involved with the response effort to assist their communities during this unprecedented event."

2.38pm: Fire and Emergency New Zealand crews responded to 719 weather-related incidents in Waitematā, Auckland city and Counties Manukau between 12.01 am Friday morning and 7.30am today.

There were 2242 111 calls answered by Fire and Emergency communications centre staff, resulting in 2074 calls for assistance during the weather event, FENZ district manager Brad Mosby said.

"This was an unprecedented number of calls and we had to prioritise. We had every available career and volunteer crew on the road responding to the most serious events."

Flooding at Auckland Airport.

The events included 126 rescues involving people trapped in cars and homes, or involved in motor vehicle crashes; 84 incidents where there was a confirmed threat to people; and 237 incidents where there was a possible threat to people.

The remaining calls were made up of private fire alarm activations, structure fires and medical call outs.

2.34pm: And here's a chart of max 3-hour observed rainfall totals from the Auckland region yesterday.

"These amounts are 175%, to nearly, 300% of the January normal," NIWA said on Twitter.

"In other words, it *only* took 3 hours to receive nearly double to almost triple the amount that'd normally fall in 31 days."

2.28pm: Here's an image of the rain levels across Auckland over the past 24 hours.

2.24pm: Laneway Festival in Auckland has been cancelled.

"Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented weather event in Auckland we have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel Laneway Festival," organisers for the event said on social media this afternoon.

"We were so excited to deliver this show to our biggest crowd ever in New Zealand, our team has been working around the clock to do everything they can to salvage the site, but the damage and disruption caused by the weather has meant that it is no longer safe to proceed."

Refunds will be processed automatically over the next week.

"Our heart goes out to everyone affected by this weather event. Stay safe, be kind. We'll be back in 2024."

2.20pm: We're currently awaiting media conferences from Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and National leader Christopher Luxon. Those are expected in the next hour or two.

2.10pm: Tonight's Gardens Music Festival has been moved indoors at Spark Arena in Central Auckland, organisers say.

"Due to the weather situation in Auckland we have made the decision to move Gardens Music Festival indoors to Spark Arena, this Sunday, January 29.

"Performances are confirmed from Fatboy Slim, LP Giobbi, Peking Duk, Set Mo and Dick Johnson. Unfortunately, John Morales and MissB won't be performing."

2:01pm: A big clean-up is underway across some suburbs in Auckland as flooding washed through homes and even left a car propped up on a fence.

A delivery van half-submerged in Auckland floodwater.

See the full photo gallery here.

1:55pm: Air New Zealand is warning that travel delays from yesterday's flooding in Auckland will likely continue affecting its flights for days.

"It might take a few days to get everything back on track, and we thank our customers in advance for their patience and understanding during this challenging time.

"The flooding has had a huge impact our Auckland operations. We're working on getting customers to their final destinations and getting our crew and aircraft back in the right place," the airline said in a statement.

"If you are travelling out of Auckland, please do not travel to the airport until you receive an update that your flight is going ahead."

1:42pm: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has landed at Auckland's Whenuapai Air Base.

Chris Hipkins onboard a Defence Force plane.

The PM is preparing to board a helicopter to see the flood damage from the sky.

Chris Hipkins at Whenuapai.

Hipkins is expected to address the media in the coming hours.

1:16pm: Lifeguards rescued 79 people from flooded cars, homes, and workplaces overnight, according to authorities.

In a statement, Surf Life Saving said lifeguards were deployed to help save people from rising floodwaters after dark.

On the North Shore, lifeguards rescued 69 people from shops in Wairau Valley between 8:30pm and 10pm in groups of five, authorities said.

Wairau Valley flooding. (Source: Twitter).

"They were then alerted to a search for a missing person near Sunnynook Bus Station who was last seen on a kayak. After searching for around an hour, the kayak had been found, but not the missing person and the lifeguards were stood down for the evening.

"Six people were rescued from rapidly rising floodwaters in Ararimu Valley Road in Helensville by lifeguards from the Muriwai squad.

"A family of five, including a very young child were rescued through a window of their property and transported by two rescue boats to safety.

"Lifeguards then returned to a second property on the road where an 80-year-old woman was rescued from the second storey of her house.

Lifeguards with a rescue boat near Wairau Valley.

"The boats rafted up on the roof of the first storey and assisted the lady from the house, transporting to the waiting police and ambulance officers.

"A separate group of lifeguards who were returning home around midnight were flagged down by a group trapped by floodwaters on a high-point on Factory Road, Waimauku.

"They were informed that a man was screaming for help in his vehicle, which had started to float in the floodwater.

"The man made it out of the vehicle, and a lifeguard responded with a rescue tube and helped him back to a point of safety. They then provided first aid as the man was beginning to get hypothermic."

12.56pm: Up-close footage of a dangerous slip tumbling down a Parnell hill was sent to 1News this morning. Read and watch the full story here.

"We gotta go!" one of the people inside a neighbouring house exclaims.

12.54pm: NZ Post has announced that all deliveries have been suspended in Auckland.

"Due to the severe weather conditions in the Upper North Island and State of local Emergency declared in Auckland, from Friday 27 January, all NZ Post deliveries have been temporarily suspended in Auckland on Saturday, 28 January.

A photo sent into 1News shows a delivery van half-submerged in Auckland floodwater.

"We are continually reviewing the situation and implementing contingency plans to ensure parcels reach their destinations as safely and quickly as possible.

"However, the delivery of items may be impacted for a number of days, depending on weather and road network conditions.  The safety of all our people and those directly responding to the emergency is paramount."

12.44pm: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has boarded an Air Force Hercules plane bound for Auckland. His plane is expected to land at Whenuapai Air Force Base in about an hour.

Chris Hipkins readying for a flight to Auckland.

Earlier, 1News Political Editor Jessica Mutch McKay said Hipkins is expected to take a helicopter overflight of the city.

12.39pm: Auckland's Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium has closed today due to flooding.

"Due to the adverse weather, our penguins aren't the only ones swimming in the aquarium," it said in a Facebook post.

12.33pm: Organisers of the 2023 Laneway Festival have still not decided whether to cancel Monday's event.

Over 20,000 people are expected at Auckland's Western Springs for the event.

12.27pm: The country's largest stadium turf at Auckland's Eden Park has effectively been turned into a lake, a new photo released by the stadium's trust shows.

Flooded Eden Park.

Flooding was widespread across parts of Auckland overnight - with some flooding now receding on previously inundated roads.

12.10pm: Auckland Emergency Management duty controller Andrew Clark says the "situation has stabilised significantly" in the city this morning.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB, he says the focus shifted towards assessing the damage - with emergency accommodation being provided to people who lost their homes.

He says authorities are working on aerial and ground surveys - in the process of assessing how many people have been displaced. Clark said a sticker system could be used to identify houses that are no longer safe to inhabit.

"We're expecting some more rain in the next 24 hours - nothing like yesterday. More spotty," he said - adding that the rain could be "localised and intense".

11.40am: Organisers of Elton John's tour say this evening's show has been cancelled.

"Promoters, emergency services and venue staff have deemed the event as unsafe due to surrounding flooding and continued disruptions to roads and patron safety across the city," the organiser said in a statement.

Elton John's concert has been cancelled this evening amid the torrential weather.

"Following the instruction of the emergency services, we have no option but to cancel tonight’s show in Auckland," Elton John said in a statement

"Two years ago, I was devastated to have to reschedule my final New Zealand shows and was committed to fulfilling my promise of returning to say a final farewell.

"This is a very difficult decision which doesn’t come lightly and I’m so sorry to all my fans who bought tickets.

"Cancelling shows is always the very last resort but we have to think of my team, the venue staff and fan safety. "

11.37am: Countdown says its Mairangi Bay store is closed due to flood damage.

"It’s likely to stay that way for a few days as we clean up and make sure the store is safe for customers and our team. We appreciate our customers’ understanding while we work through this," managing director Spencer Sonn said.

"The rest of our Auckland stores will be open today but there may be some disruption on shelves and with online orders as our team gets things back to normal.

"Thankfully, all of our team are safe but we may be a little light on the ground with some of our team staying home due to road closures and other flooding impacts."

11.31am: Jacinda Ardern, Mt Albert MP, has posted to Instagram about the floods. It is the former prime minister's first social media post since stepping down on Wednesday.

Mt Albert MP Jacinda Ardern.

"I’m very conscious that it’s been a while since I posted, and there have been a few big things happening," the backbench MP said.

"But today the most important thing is everyone’s wellbeing and safety - especially across Auckland after such a severe weather event.

Instagram post made by Jacinda Ardern.

"Here are some headline points and tips for the morning that were accurate as at 10am. I’ll be sure to post any updates that come through. Till then, stay safe everyone."

11.12am: Opposition leader Christopher Luxon has just issued a statement on the floods.

"In time there will be an opportunity to review how the emergency management response was delivered, but for now our immediate focus must be on ensuring all Aucklanders are safe," he said in a statement.

Yesterday night, Luxon sent a tweet calling on Wayne Brown to declare a state of emergency amid criticism that Auckland's mayor was slow to act.

“I want to extend my condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones in the floods.

"Now is the time for all of us to come together as we deal with an incredible weather event. I know as a community we will support each other to help those who are struggling through this event."

10.55am: 1News Political Editor Jessica Mutch McKay reports that Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will soon board a Defence Force Hercules bound for Auckland.

Chris Hipkins and Kieran McAnulty address media at the National Crisis Management Centre, Wellington.

The PM is expected to take a helicopter overflight of the city.

Hipkins is currently in Wellington.

10.45am: Auckland Airport has announced it will re-open for domestic arrivals and departures from midday. It says over 2000 people slept inside the airport overnight.

International departures will not resume until 5pm at the earliest - apart from the three aircraft currently on the gates - and final timings will be confirmed after 1pm.

There will be no international flights arriving until 4:30am on Sunday. All international arrivals until then will been cancelled or diverted away from Auckland.

"More than 2000 people stayed overnight at Auckland Airport terminals due to flooding.

"Any passengers who need or want to remain inside the terminal until they have made accommodation or travel arrangements are certainly welcome to do so," the airport said.

"Two international aircraft remain with their passengers in the gate lounge or onboard waiting to depart when it is safe to do so. Airline staff are taking care of their welfare."

10.37am: Napier's Fatboy Slim concert, originally set for tonight, has been cancelled due to weather conditions. It comes after Tauranga's One Love Festival was cancelled earlier.

"Due to the current weather event affecting Napier and the impact this has had on the festival site and its surrounds, Endeavour Live announce the cancellation of the Fat Boy Slim Concert set for Tremain Park tonight."

10.34am: In an update, MetService says an earlier red heavy rain warning for Auckland has been lifted - but that it's still expecting more showers today and tomorrow.

"Heavy rain has now eased across the region, but showers are forecast for the remainder of today - some possibly heavy with thunderstorms," the forecaster said.

"Further heavy rain is expected from around midnight tonight (Saturday) to midday Sunday, when 70-90 mm of rain is expected about the ranges, with lesser amounts nearer the coast."

10.21am: Spark says it has opened up access to its WiFi phonebox hotspots to everyone across the country - in response to the ongoing emergency in Auckland.

It says five cell sites are currently down due to power failures.

10.12am: Auckland's Civil Defence Emergency Management has issued a new statement.

"Auckland was clobbered on Friday - Auckland’s wettest day on record - and today we start the clean-up," duty controller Andrew Clark says.

“We won’t start to get a good idea of numbers affected until later today and, even then, this will take time, with information still coming in and many assessments to complete.

"If your property has been damaged, please take pictures for your insurance company and contact them as soon as you can.

"Please do not drive through floodwaters and remember hazards and debris could lurk beneath the surface, and floodwaters may be contaminated."

If you need urgent accommodation assistance, call 0800 22 22 00.

9.55am: Over 200,000 people on Auckland's North Shore should immediately reduce water use, the city's water provider says. Read the full story here.

"All our North Shore customers, Please reduce your water use immediately. Do not use your washing machines until further notice, and keep your showers short. This is to reduce the volume of wastewater leaving your properties."

9.48am: A local business operator told 1News one of the people who died was discovered at a culvert on Target Rd.

They said the person was kayaking on the culvert before they died.

The culvert where a body was discovered.

9.19am: Two people have died and two people are missing in Auckland, police have announced. Both of the people who died were found in floodwaters on the North Shore.

Read the full story here.

"Enquiries into the circumstances of both these deaths are ongoing," police said.

9.15am: This year's One Love Festival in Tauranga has been cancelled due to forecasted rain and weather-related travel disruption in Auckland.

"The rough weather last night and this morning has caused chaos, and there is no sign of it easing up over the weekend. From site flooding, to high winds, to artists being stuck in Auckland, thunderstorms predicted and heavy rain tomorrow as well, we are unable to safely and logistically deliver One Love 2023," organisers said.

"This, along with the State of Emergency that was declared for Auckland last night has to be taken into account when considering your safety, along with the safety of our artists and crew. A total of 40% of our ticket holders are from Auckland."

Organisers say attendees will be refunded.

9.10am: Transport remains paralysed throughout parts of the Auckland region due to the flooding. The Northern Motorway, SH1, is closed in several locations.

Find the latest road closures in Auckland here.

Meanwhile, public transport also remains severely disrupted.

9.00am: Speaking to RNZ, the city's mayor Wayne Brown told Aucklanders that it "is not over" and that people should stay home if they can.

He said a number of evacuation centres were "compromised" last night.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown (file image).

Additionally, he defended his response to the flooding after other leaders called upon him to call a state of emergency last night.

"The state of emergency is a prescribed process. It's quite formal. I had to wait until I had the official request from the emergency management centre," Brown said.

"When the police and Fire and Emergency announced that they were being overwhelmed, that's when they recommended I call a state of emergency. I was following the recommendations of the professionals."

National Party leader Christopher Luxon and several Auckland councillors publicly called for the mayor to declare an emergency last night - before he did so.

Declaring a state of emergency gives rescuers additional powers and allows authorities to provide additional aid.

"The decisions are guided from the professional experts in the field - rather than just from Twitter," the mayor said.

"This is an unprecedented event - it'll be interesting to see just how well prepared Wellington is when the earthquake strikes."

Brown is expected to meet with Prime Minister Chris Hipkins later today.

8.30am: In a statement, Christchurch Airport is warning travellers that its terminals are "very busy".

It says the airport has received a "significant" number of diverted flights from Auckland over night.

The airport said airlines are working with passengers to accommodate their needs.

"Everyone is doing their best to manage the influx of passengers and we thank people for their patience and understanding in these extraordinary circumstances."

8.16am: International air travel to New Zealand remains severely disrupted due to flooding inside the terminal, and an earlier runway incident, at Auckland Airport.

Flights have diverted to Wellington or Christchurch or returned to their destinations.

8.07am: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says in a tweet that he is currently stuck in Wellington due to weather conditions. He is advising Aucklanders to "stay put".

All arriving flights from Auckland Airport remain diverted or cancelled due to flooding inside the international terminal.

7.50am: Fire and Emergency NZ say they are working through the backlog of less urgent 111 calls from last night, contacting callers to see whether they still need assistance this morning.

"Rescue calls were prioritised overnight, with firefighters attending first to people who were trapped in their homes or vehicles by floodwater, slips, and fallen trees. We estimate over 2000 calls were received,

"This morning the communications centre team has been contacting the other callers and re prioritising those who still need help, while new 111 calls are still being received."

Fire and Emergency said people should avoid driving through floodwater because of risks they'll get trapped and need to be rescued.

An Urban Search and Rescue team has also been activated and will be carrying out "rapid damage assessments: of buildings that may have structural damage.

5.45am: Auckland mayor Wayne Brown is set meet Prime Minister Chris Hipkins today after yesterday's devastating floods.

In a statement from the mayor's office, Brown confirmed he would be attending briefings with Auckland Council teams managing the emergency response early this morning.

The mayor will also be visiting affected communities in coming days.

"I want to thank our emergency services and the team here for their hard work and dedication during very difficult circumstances," Brown said.

4.38am: Auckland Airport says travellers are beginning to head home as floodwaters recede.

More than 2000 travellers and airport staff had been cut off by flooded roads around the airport precinct, the airport said in a statement.

"This is not the start any of us wanted for the long weekend in Auckland. We want to genuinely thank travellers for their patience overnight, as we contended with rising floodwaters, a runway closure and multiple flight delays, diversions and cancellations," said chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui.

"We’re also really grateful to the retailers that remained open tonight to support travellers and provide food and drink, as well as our team at the Strata lounge and other airport lounges who have worked through the night to care for travellers."

A number of passengers are still waiting outside at the international terminal. Auckland Airport said it would be working with borders agencies to help those travellers through formal border processing formalities before they could depart.

Flooding at Auckland Airport.

"Due to the damage overnight and the need to check key terminal infrastructure, no domestic or international flights will be arriving or departing from Auckland Airport before noon Saturday, 28 January."


Aucklanders are waking up to a flood-damaged city after Tāmaki Makaurau saw unprecedented rainfall yesterday.

Thousands of emergency service calls have been made and the Prime Minister is urging people to support each other.

The North Shore Civil Defence Centre was relocated to Massey University's Albany Campus from its original location at North Shore Events Centre last night.

"Those who are displaced or need assistance can access the centre via the main entrance at Gate 1," Auckland Emergency Management said in a statement

The New Zealand Defence Force remains on the ground in Auckland.

Civil Defence have announced payments for some Aucklanders affected by the damage.

If people had to leave their home, were staying away from home at the time of the emergency and can't return, can't go to work, or need help with food, bedding, or clothing, they may be eligible for the payment.