While Cyclone Gabrielle passed over the majority of our homes and towns, our ngahere took some damage. Trees were blown over and broken, causing roads across the region to be closed and power to go out.
Restrictions remain in place for the Napier-Taupō Highway (SH5), which is open during daytime hours only, from 7am-7pm.
Among the broken and windfallen trees were rākau planted on Lake Taupō and Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust plantations. The damage caused to the forests means a major cleanup and recovery operation needs to take place.
The first step taken by the forest trusts was to close off public access to the plantations so that safety assessments can be made. Once the assessments are complete, the forest trusts can then proceed with cleanup operations.
NZ Forest Managers is the company contracted by the forest trusts to operate their plantations. They are in charge of the assessment and cleanup. NZ Forest Managers General Manager, John Hura said:
“We are still in the assessment phase of ascertaining the extent of the damage. We are using a combination of fixed-wing and helicopter flights, satellite imagery, drones and on-ground inspections.
“We expect to have a clearer picture of the nature and extent of the damage in the coming days and weeks. This enables us to develop an operational response plan, working in conjunction with our clients.”
“We know there will be major salvaging operations in many forests to uplift wind-thrown stems and are well on the way to re-opening main access roads to facilitate this work.”
They’re also working with their neighbouring landowners, residents power companies, and Government agencies to get infrastructure back to normal as soon as possible.
If you have any pātai, you can contact Lake Taupō Forest Trust at 07-386-8839 or Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust at 07-386-8834. Or you can contact them via their Facebook Pages or their websites www.ltft.co.nz (Lake Taupō Forest Trust) and www.lrft.co.nz (Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust).