Skip to main content


Home > Our region and environment > Rivers and Drainage > April 2017 Flood Repairs

April 2017 Flood Repairs

We’re repairing flood damage to our rivers and drains to protect people, property and livelihoods.

Project Links

What happened in April 2017?

In early April 2017, the Bay of Plenty was hit by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie. The cyclone brought prolonged torrential rain, resulting in record high river levels and flows across all rivers and waterways in the region. Flows in the Rangitāiki River were 20 percent higher than previously recorded and flows in the Whakatāne River were 34 percent higher than previously recorded.

On Thursday 6 April 2017, at approximately 8:30am, the Rangitāiki River burst through the stopbank at College Road, Edgecumbe, causing extensive flooding through the town and surrounding area. A local state of emergency was declared and Edgecumbe township evacuated. A number of residents in Poroporo, Rūātoki and Tāneatua also had to leave their homes when sections of the Whakatāne River stopbank overtopped.

College Road Breach Site

Stopbank breach on College Road, Edgecumbe

Taneatua Road Whakatane River Flowed Over The Stopbanks

Whakatane River flowed over stopbanks along Taneatua Road


A second adverse weather event, Cyclone Cook, struck the region a week later, bringing further rain and strong winds.

These two events resulted in significant damage to river and drainage networks and assets across the region, from the Kaituna River in the west through to the Waioeka and Otara Rivers in the east.

Repairing the damage

The Flood Repair Project involves the repair of 520 flood damaged sites with an estimated budget in excess of $45m. The majority of damage is in the Eastern Bay of Plenty with over half the work associated with the Rangitāiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme.

Damaged sites have been prioritised based on the risk of the damage becoming worse, the consequence of that occurring, any impact to community assets, and the practical ability to complete the work required. High priority works are programmed to be completed by December 2019.

The entire repair project is expected to take four years, with completion programmed for 30 June 2021

Tauranga River Lowe Road Waimana Wh197 River Bank Damage

An example of a high priority site where river bank erosion is threatening a road


Click on the image below to view a larger version of the Flood Repair Project information poster

Flood Repair Project Poster Thumbnail 

Current project activity

For the latest news check out the April 2017 Flood Repair Project project page where you can subscribe to follow the project and stay up to date with the repair works.

Frequently asked questions

We are collating questions about the flood repairs from our meetings and information sessions with stakeholders and communities and summarising the answers here>>

Key contact

For questions or feedback about this project, please contact the Project Manager – Paula Chapman: