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Massive amount of silt and debris clean up underway and ongoing in Wairoa

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From removing woody debris from key beaches and coastal areas to removing log jams from bridges to starting survey work on drains, streams and the river, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC), the Silt and Debris Task Force and the local contractors working for them are busy.

Additionally, the Regional Council has started, and will continue through summer, to survey drains, streams, and rivers to determine if they are adequate for their intended drainage purpose or if they need remedial work.

Regional Council Chair Hinewai Ormsby says she is glad that the northern Hawke’s Bay is getting such attention.

“We know the Wairoa area has concerns about rainfall and drainage. The drainage and debris clean up is important mahi that the community have highlighted, so I’m pleased the Council is progressing as fast as possible on these matters.”

Regional Council Wairoa Councillor Di Roadley says she knows the volume of work will be welcomed.

“People in the Wairoa area still have fresh memories of flooding and naturally are concerned whenever we get any heavy rain. The work Regional Council staff and contractors have been doing, and will do, should give reassurance that we are working hard to make drainage systems as good as they can be.”

“It’s also very heartening that we have been able to use local contractors, so every dollar spent for Wairoa area work by the Task Force has stayed in the community,” Cr Roadley says.


A list of works carried out in the Wairoa area and those planned for the coming months:

  • Cross-sectional surveys of the Wairoa River are underway from the mouth up towards the town and will measure any build-up of silt in the river. Results should be available by mid-December.
  • Reviews are underway on the Ohuia and Opoho flood schemes (small coastal schemes between the Wairoa and Nuhaka rivers on either side of Whakaki) to assess their ability to perform adequately in rain events. At the same time HBRC is developing a capital delivery plan to return them to their level of service in case work is needed.
  • Replacement of a pump in Ohuia and the rebuild of Ohuia pump station screens to be completed when water levels allow.
  • Conducting a hydrological survey at Māhanga township on the Hinerauiri stream, its mouth, the road ford and how the stream interacts with the wetland. Some properties in the township have experienced flooding issues and the survey will provide some answers in how to alleviate this.
  • A survey of the Paeroa Scheme drains around North Clyde (from the airport) to the Awatere Drain and Wairoa River. There have been issues with the drains overflowing post-cyclone resulting in localised flooding. The survey will find any areas where the water is not able to flow effectively. The drains will be regraded over summer to improve the performance of the drain.
  • Woody debris cleared from key beaches and coastal areas in the district to enable access to the beaches and safe swimming include:
    • Wairoa (Pilot Hill, McCardles Culvert, Yacht Club Reserve, Ngamotu lagoon and railway road)
    • Mohaka (Mohaka beach, Waikere beach and Waihua beach)
    • Māhia (Opoutama and Māhia Beach, Mangawhio Lagoon, Oraka and Māhanga)
  • Removed log jams from bridges to prevent bridge damage and flooding. There have been 12 high priority sites and 14 medium priority sites. Key bridges have included: Opoiti bridge, Wairoa rail bridge and Nuhaka bridge.
  • The Task Force has been working in the headwaters of the rivers in the district in conjunction with the HBRC Integrated Catchment Management tree clearance team to remove vegetation that has a potential to become a flooding risk.


More public information:

  • For reports on rainfall and other climate factors by area see the monthly State of the Environment Reports, go to, search #so
  • To monitor rainfall totals in real time, click on the “Map” tab here,, search #rainfall

9 October 2023

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