A group of good Samaritans have come to the rescue of a helpless flock of sheep in the Hawke's Bay who were left stranded and exhausted in rising floodwaters this morning.
Hans Paaymans and Chris Howard were part of a group that were driving past on their way to Napier when they saw the flock of around 100 to 150 sheep huddled in a corner of the flooded paddock. Some had already died.
"We were going up to Napier to look at some properties up there that we were worried about flooding and we saw all the sheep stuck in a corner here," Paaymans explained.
"Quite a few of them had drowned at that stage. We tried to get hold of the police, we tried to get hold of the farmer with no luck, so we jumped over the fence and shifted them."
Howard saw the group helping the sheep and quickly lent a hand.
"The poor sheep, the water wasn’t really that deep, but they were just so exhausted, they had no energy left. So we had to give them a hand. [It was] hard work," he told 1News.
Elsewhere in the Hawke's Bay, a group of workers at an apple orchard scrambled onto the top of roofs to escape rising flood water as they waited for help to arrive.
The video shows they are surrounded by brown water which sits high up against the individual cabins.
At one stage in the clip, two of the men are seen swimming in the water while one man manoeuvres back inside one of the windows to reclaim more property.
A number of vehicles can be seen in the clip, with one van totally submerged and only a fraction of its roof showing.
Despite their situation, the group appear to be in good spirits and are staying positive.
State of Emergency
At 8:30am, a National State of Emergency was declared to assist in the response to Cyclone Gabrielle.
The declaration will include Northland, Auckland, Tairāwhiti, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Hawke's Bay.
Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group are urging all Taradale and Omanhu residents to evacuate immediately: "If possible, stay with family and friends".
"Check that your evacuation route is safe, check the Waka Kotahi website for road closures.
"If unable to stay with family and friends, Omahu residents are being asked to go to Hastings Sports' Centre.
"Taradale Community are being asked to go to St Joseph's Māori Girls' School."
"Defence Force assets are on their way to Hawke's Bay and active rescues are underway."