Auckland floods: More rain on the way as clean-up begins

Chris Hipkins arrived in the city this afternoon while travellers Cathy Gao and Wendy Xiao from Sydney are spending more time in Auckland International Airport than they planned. Photo: Pool, RNZ / Lucy Xia/ supplied

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has visited Auckland following the catastrophic floods that have affected much of the region, taking at least three lives.

Aucklanders have been warned more rain is forecast in coming days and the clean-up will be a lengthy process.

Here’s a wrap of everything you need to know.


A heavy rain watch is in place for all of Auckland and Great Barrier Island from 6am Sunday, MetService said.

It is a downgrade from the red warning issued on Friday, however heavy rain was still possible.

Brewster St in Mt Albert, Auckland was still flooded a day after a severe thunderstorm.

More rain is expected to fall in Auckland as the clean-up continues. Photo: RNZ / Matthew Hutching

“This watch covers the possibility of rainfall accumulations reaching warning criteria during this time, mainly south of about Whangaparāoa Peninsula.

“Thunderstorms are also possible Sunday afternoon and evening.”

PM visits Auckland

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has acknowledged the way Aucklanders have come together and opened their homes to those in need, with the government focused on providing the resources needed to get the city back up and running.

With three deaths now confirmed, Hipkins offered his condolences to the families of the deceased.

He said he was focused on supporting Aucklanders through this event and providing the full resources to get Auckland back up and running in the safest way possible.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on the Hercules en route to Auckland to access the flood damage in the city.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins made a trip up to Auckland to see the damage caused by the weather. Photo: Pool

Hipkins said the government’s priority was to ensure Aucklanders were housed. He said there was an assessment of public and community housing underway.

Having surveyed the damage, he said it was clear it was going to be a big clean-up job after Auckland’s wettest day on record.

Hipkins said it was important for Aucklanders to avoid unnecessary travel and to stay out of the water.

He said this was the time to check in with loved ones and “take care of each other”.

Mayor defends response time

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has again defended the time it took to declare a state of emergency – saying it was signed as soon as it was called for.

Many Aucklanders have criticised the response time, including councillors themselves.

Brown said he was in his office from 4pm on Friday, receiving updates and trying to get a hold on what was happening.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown assesses damage from the extreme flooding across Auckland from a helicopter on Saturday, 28 January.

Mayor Wayne Brown went up in a helicopter to see damage on Saturday. Photo: SUPPLIED

Unlike his councillors, Brown said he didn’t “have the luxury of worrying about one suburb. You’ve got to understand that”.

Brown said he followed advice from professionals.

“They said ‘sign this thing’, and it was signed within two minutes.”

Aucklanders band together

Red Cross said the priority at the Kelston emergency management centre was to make people feel safe.

Northern region emergency management officer Dale Ramshaw said getting people involved in organising their space at the centre gives them some empowerment.

Dale Ramshaw, Red Cross northern region emergency response officer at evac centre in Kelston

Northern region emergency management officer Dale Ramshaw. Photo: RNZ / Rowan Quinn

Ramshaw said more people have been coming in, some having spent the night in their cars.

Red Cross has asked that people stop bringing in donations to the emergency centre, as they need the space for evacuees.

Power outages

Hipkins said despite such an event, most of Auckland had power.

As of Saturday morning, there were about 3500 homes or businesses that were still to be reconnected.

Water outages

Watercare said the storm had had a “significant impact on our water and wastewater operations”.

Water was safe to drink but there were parts of West Auckland that had had their water shut off.

Damage to buildings at French Bay south of Titirangi

The weather severely damaged parts of West Auckland. Photo: Supplied / Devin Boyle

“Residents living in Titirangi, Woodlands Park, Oratia, Greenbay, Waima and elevated sections of Scenic Drive are likely to have no water or low water pressure at the moment.

“We are reconfiguring the network to try to minimise the number of customers impacted.”

Evacuation centres

Three Civil Defence Centres are open for anyone who needs a safe place to go to.

  • In Kelston at Saint Leonard’s Road School, 15 Leonard’s Road
  • In Randwick Park, at Manu Tukutuku, 32 Riverton Drive
  • In Albany, at the Massey University Albany East Precinct. Enter at Gate 1/Main Entrance off the Albany Expressway SH17. The centre is set up in the Sir Neil Waters Theatre

About 50 people spent the night at the Kelston emergency centre with people coming in throughout the night. An RNZ reporter said it was full of stretcher beds, there are showers available and charities provided food.

A helpline has been set up by Auckland Emergency Management for anyone who needs accommodation: 0800 22 22 00.

Gribblehirst park in Sandringham was flooded after heavy rain in Auckland.

Gribblehirst Park in Sandringham was flooded after heavy rain in Auckland. Photo: Supplied / Andrew McDowall

Auckland Airport flights

Auckland Airport’s domestic terminal reopened for arrivals and departures at midday.

However, international flights was a different story.

“Auckland Airport has been assessing the damage to our international terminal and unfortunately determined that no international flights can operate today (Saturday).

A terminal at Auckland International Airport is flooded.

Auckland Airport was flooded on Friday evening, causing cancellations to flights. Photo: Facebook / Sher Singh

“We know this is extremely frustrating but the safety of passengers is our top priority.”

People were asked not to travel to the international terminal as no departures would happen until 5am on Sunday at the earliest, with arrivals from 7am.

Sir Elton John concerts cancelled

The widespread flooding cancelled both Friday and Saturday’s Elton John concerts.

The legendary rock singer said he was “heartbroken” Friday’s concert at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland had to be called off due to the severe flooding.

Disappointed Elton John fans leave Mt Smart

Fans leave Friday’s concert after learning it had been cancelled. Photo: Supplied / Mere Martin

“I was at the venue and determined to play as the weather reports we received in advance weren’t fully conclusive,” he said in a post on social media.

“Ultimately, we had to follow the local emergency services’ decision to cancel. The safety of my fans, our team, and staff at Mt Smart Stadium is of the utmost importance.”

The decision was ultimately made to also cancel Saturday’s show.

In a statement organisers said the concert was cancelled due to the state of emergency.

All ticket holders will be refunded.

Festival cancellations

Because of the flooding, One Love and Laneway have also been cancelled.

In a post on social media, Laneway Festival said the decision had been made to cancel due to the “unprecedented weather event”.

“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 would be automatically refunded over the next week, it said.

One Love Festival, being held in Tauranga, was also cancelled because of the weather.

“We appreciate your love and support and we’re genuinely sorry to have let you all down.”

Source: RNZ