Cyclone Gita hits New Zealand

Cyclone Gita, which did so much damage in Tonga last week, has now hit New Zealand. In the last two days, most of the country has experienced very high winds and heavy rain. Most of the South Island and Taranaki province in the North Island suffered most from the weather.

Some roads are still closed. Roads in and out of Kaikoura were closed as a precaution because the cliffs are still unstable after the earthquake more than a year ago. Slips on the Takaka Hill in Nelson have left residents and tourists stranded in Golden Bay, unable to leave. Helicopters dropped emergency medical supplies. Boats provided other supplies. Tourists were also stranded near Haast Pass in Westland and between Greymouth and Westport where trees had fallen across the road. Roof iron flying across the road has been a danger in places.

Some people in New Plymouth have to boil their water as a water pipe was damaged. Some schools closed in the area when they were told this news. In some other towns, schools are also closed because of flooding.

Flights to and from Wellington were cancelled. Smaller airports, like Nelson airport, also closed because of high winds.

Many local councils declared a state of emergency because of flooding. This allows the council to evacuate people to a safer place.

Heavy rain and strong winds have now moved south on the east coast of the South Island towards Dunedin. Thunderstorms are expected to continue in Wellington.


• Tonga – a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean
• to suffer – to feel pain or unhappiness
• precaution – taking care before an accident happens
• unstable – could slip down on onto the road
• slips – rocks and soil from a cliff fall down onto the road
• stranded – unable to leave
• evacuate – leave their home and move to a safe place