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FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
More heavy rain
The Metser vice this afternoon
issued another heavy rain warning
for the Westland ranges south of
Otira for tomorrow. The active
front preceded by a strong moist
northerly flow today was expected to
move eastward from this afternoon,
although heavy rain of 20 to 30mm
an hour, with possible thunderstorms,
was expected to ease this afternoon.
From early tomorrow morning
another active front preceded by
a strong moist northerly flow is
expected to bring between 90 and
120mm of rain in the ranges south of
Otira over a nine-hour period.
Greymouth’s recidivist streaker
Ephraim James McIntyre, who
has a history of taking his clothes
off and running on to sports fields
during high-profile sporting events,
appeared in the Christchurch
District Court today after he
streaked at the Cricket World Cup
opener in Christchurch between
New Zealand and Sri Lanka, on
February 14. Judge Gary MacAskill
fined McIntyre $1500 after he
pleaded guilty to invading the pitch.
After a previous embarrassing run in
Dunedin, he was fined $800 and was
labelled as a “dork” by a Judge Jane
Heavy rain, turning to showers
Greymouth Star On-line
A 10-year-old boy is facing
expulsion from school after teachers
called the police when he brought
in a fake orange gun for bring-a-
toy session. Jayden Taljaard took
the model handgun — which does
regular Friday class where pupils
can bring their own toys. But staff
called the police after three teachers
reported feeling ‘threatened ’ by the
replica. It has emerged that Jayden
has been immediately suspended
from Selwood Academy in Frome,
Somerset, and has been told he could
be permanently excluded. A police
officer is due to visit the youngster
at home to warn him of the dangers
of firearms. “ Three teachers said they
felt threatened by this gun. Could
they not see it was bright orange and
plastic?” Jayden’s stepfather Kevin
Pleasants said. — Daily Mail
Westport on flood watch
Brendon McMahon, Ben Aulakh
Westport was on flood watch by midday
today, although persistent heavy rain in
Greymouth overnight had caused few
problems by late this morning.
Rain had eased in Greymouth by late
morning, but earlier widespread surface
flooding had closed some roads by mid-
Greymouth High School closed for the day
because of concerns with sewerage, while all
four schools in the Westport area were also
In Westport, the flooding was described
as the worst since 1998, with the town at
saturation point and nowhere to pump the
surface flooding. All eyes were on the rising
Buller River, and the arrival of high tide early
The situation was far less serious in
The Grey District Council reported road
closures in Fitzgerald Street, Coulson Road,
Jacks Road and Rutherglen Road at the
underpass leading to Shantytown. Lydia,
Leonard, Swift, Alexander, Wickes and
Bright streets and Omoto Valley Road were
also closed during the morning.
At noon, Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn said the council had authorised
an emergency cut to relieve pressure from
the New River and Saltwater Creek outlet,
at Paroa, where the backlog of floodwaters
was threatening the Paroa Hotel, school and
With further heavy rain forecast the work
was being done to “relieve” pressure.
Earlier, Mr Kokshoorn sur veyed wider
Greymouth and reported serious surface
flooding localised around Karoro and South
Beach, in the Nolan Crescent and Weenink
Localised floodwaters were lapping the
front door of the Rhodes Memorial premises
in upper Shakespeare Street, but it escaped
“Runanga is coping well, Raleigh Creek is
holding,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
The Runanga Volunteer Fire Brigade was
called to cover a leaking roof shortly after
10am but there had been no other issues in
the township, fire chief Gavin Gibbens said.
The Greymouth Volunteer Fire Brigade also
dealt with only one call-out — to secure a
garden shed which had begun to float from a
Marsden Road property adjacent to Sawyers
The Cobden brigade reported no problems.
The call was made to close the high school at
8.20am due to drainage problems and backed
“ We have got a bit of really deep flooding
in the centre of the school,” Greymouth High
School principal Andy England said.
All students had arrived when the decision
was made to close, and they were being bused
home throughout the morning.
All other Greymouth schools remained
The Karoro Kindergarten opened but its
sister kindergarten in Shakespeare Street
was closed due to about 10cm of water in the
A number of events were postponed or
cancelled today — although the New Zealand
Fire Ser vice National Water ways Challenge
went ahead in Greymouth, despite the
In Hokitika, the call was made to postpone
the 31st Lake Kaniere Triathalon, with 178
entries, for the first time in its history and
with more rain forecast tomorrow, while the
Westport Trotting Club autumn meeting due
to run this afternoon was cancelled.
Club secretary Colin Stevenson said the
Patterson Park course was under water.
“The roads in both directions are closed as
well, so people can’t get here,” Mr Stevenson
Buller bore the brunt of the heavy weather
this morning with very heavy rain and
widespread surface flooding reported from
the early hours.
Westport was waiting ner vously at midday,
with a high tide due at the Buller River mouth
and nowhere for floodwaters to drain.
Buller civil defence had activated its
emergency response centre in Westport this
morning but was on standby for a full response
while it continued to monitor the situation.
Residents were being warned to stay indoors
and off the roads.
“There is significant surface flooding on
streets around Westport so it is important
to reduce traffic volume where possible,” the
Buller District Council said.
Westport Volunteer Fire Brigade acting
deputy fire chief Trevor O’Dea said surface
flooding in the town was “major” and there
was little emergency ser vices could do to mop
up flooded properties.
“ It ’s not draining away. There’s not really
much we can do because there’s nowhere to
pump it,” Mr O’Dea said.
Heavy rain in Westport since 3am had
started to ease slightly at 10am.
The flooding problem was exacerbated
by the high water table, fuelled by a raging
Buller River, and with the high tide due about
midday the town was waiting with bated
Mr O’Dea said the brigade had attended
15 call-outs by mid-morning due to surface
flooding, leaking roofs, and to help people
stem the tide of flooding on to property.
The river had “risen dramatically” since
“ It was running fairly low yesterday, but now
it’s raging,” Mr O’Dea said.
Buller Mayor Garry Howard said the surface
flooding in Westport was the worse he had
seen since 1998, and the town was “moving
towards a major event ”.
“I have to go back to 1998 when I have
seen the surface flooding come as quick,” Mr
“ We are asking householders to lift furniture
now rather than wait until later. ”
“ Extensive” flooding was expected to get
worse, with a further 90mm of rain expected
The NZTA reported a car trapped between
two slips in the lower Buller Gorge this
morning, with State highway 6 closed between
Inangahua Junction and Westport.
Contractors were attempting this morning
to clear the gorge road to reopen for single-
lane traffic by this afternoon.
NZTA journey manager Lee Wright said
large slips of trees, rocks, and mud had come
down near Summit Creek.
“There is one car on the highway located
between the two slips. O ur contractors
have been in contact with the vehicle
occupants, who are safe, and they remain in
communication with them,” Ms Wright said.
The agency was warning motorists to stay
off the roads throughout Buller and towards
At the Taramakau River mouth this morning
a camper had to be rescued by the Greymouth
Coastguard after his car and tent were cut off
by the rising waters.
►Cars trapped, schools closed
Rail ser vices south of Westport
were suspended today due to slips
and fallen trees, but the Tranz
Alpine passenger train from
Christchurch to Greymouth had
a clear run.
Kiwi Rail senior communications
adviser David Miller said all
ser vices in Buller were suspended
due to a landslip in the Buller
“O ur track staff are working at
the moment clearing a tree that
has fallen on to the line, and trains
are being held at Westport until
the line is clear. We also have
staff working between Westport
and Ngakawau as there have been
reports that a creek may have
overflowed on to the tracks. They
will be checking the line and also
clearing any debris,” Mr Miller
Meanwhile, a telecommunic-
ations outage this morning
caused delays to rail ser vices
on the Midland Line, although
there were no cancellations and
the Tranz Alpine was running as
Buller rail services at standstill
PICTURES: Nicholas McBride
Floodwaters surround a car in Leonard Street, Greymouth, about mid-morning.
Paroa School grounds, awash this morning as Saltwater Creek rose.
A Christchurch man who camped near the mouth of the Taramakau
River overnight, awoke to find himself stranded by the rising waters
this morning. The 56-year-old could not cross the water and phoned
the police at 10.30am. The Greymouth Coastguard launched an inflat-
able boat to get to the man and bring him back, though his car had to
be left behind until the water receded.
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