New Zealand

The New Zealand flood victims too scared to go home

It's triggered a national debate about climate change and whether vulnerable homes should be rebuilt or written off.

"I don't want to go back there," said Amy Bowkett.

The mother of two lived in the Hawkes Bay area, one of the regions worst hit by Cyclone Gabrielle. When the Category 3 storm hit with wind speeds of up to 159km/h (99mph), her home was completely destroyed.

Along with 50 of her neighbours she spent a terrifying 48 hours trapped without power, water or phone signal.  

Polyfest back after four years of cancellations and disruptions

Secondary school-aged performers were welcomed at a pōwhiri on Wednesday for the event's 48th anniversary.

RNZ reports Polyfest's theme this year is mana motuhake - creating one's own destiny.

Director Seiuli Terri Leo-Mauu said they were "very grateful" to be back, running live without interruptions.

"The vibe is so good," she told Morning Report on Thursday.

NZ delivers relief supplies to cyclone-hit Vanuatu

It also brought a team of disaster management experts to assist with the response.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has shared this message: "Our whānau in Vanuatu are very much in our thoughts. We have first-hand experience of the challenges that Vanuatu will face in the coming days and weeks, and are watching the situation closely. We will continue to work closely with our partners and respond to Government of Vanuatu’s requests for assistance where we can.”

New Zealand reports 9100 new cases, 40 deaths and 200 in hospital

Of the new cases, were 3813 reinfections.

Of the deaths being reported today, one was from Northland, 15 were from the Auckland region, two were from Hawke's Bay, two were from Taranaki, one was from MidCentral, two were from Whanganui, five were from Wellington region, three were from Nelson Marlborough, four were from Canterbury, one was from West Coast and three were from Southern.

NZ citizen released by Papua New Guinea kidnappers

Bryce Barker, who now lives in Australia, was held alongside fellow members of his research team.

They were doing fieldwork in a remote part of PNG's highlands when they were taken by a criminal gang from Hela Province who demanded a ransom for their freedom.

Their release brings to an end days of negotiations, and a complex security operation involving PNG police and defence personnel, in consultation with the Australian and New Zealand governments.

It comes two days after another woman who had also been taken was set free.

Cyclone-hit Pacific workers well cared for but worried about work

Alusio Kaloudau, a team leader of a Fijian Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) group, said they are staying in Flaxmere Community Centre in Hastings in Hawke's Bay on the east coast.

RNZ Pacific reports during and after the storm the group of 21 workers were forced to move into three different shelters.

Kaloudau said his team was told to "just relax" by one of the RSE caretakers when they arrived at the first shelter.

“A real tragedy”: Hawke’s Bay Pacific leader describes aftermath of Cyclone Garbielle

At least five people have died in Hawke’s Bay, including a child. As of today the government estimates 10,500 people have been displaced and 1442 are uncontactable in the region.

Tagata Pasifika reports Napier is expected to have no power for at least two weeks and the communication line is not fully restored. 

However, emergency power has been provided at a medical centre where community leader, Tofilau Talalelei Taufale is able to provide an update on the situation. 

New Zealand earthquake upgraded to magnitude 6.3

The long, strong quake hit at 7.38pm, at a depth of 50km north-west of Paraparaumu.

More than 60,500 people indicated they felt it on the Geonet website, with about 40 percent of them saying it felt moderate or stronger.

RNZ reports GNS Science duty seismologist Jen Andrews said when earthquakes occurred at that depth, they tended to be very widely felt.

"The energy gets sort of pushed up and around very very efficiently by an event at this depth."

Firefighters trapped, injured in Auckland's Muriwai house collapse

In a media briefing this morning, Fire and Emergency (FENZ) chief executive Kerry Gregory said a volunteer fire brigade crew had been responding to flooding on Motutara Road on Monday night.

"Last night, just before 11 [pm]... while they were at that incident there was a landslide and the landslide took out two houses and trapped two of our firefighters there," Gregory said.

New Zealand storm Gabrielle: Tense wait as ex-cyclone moves over North Island

Gabrielle was downgraded from a category two to a category one storm before it made landfall but is still forecast to bring severe weather.

The regions of Northland and Auckland are currently under a state of emergency.

Parts of the North Island were badly damaged by flooding only weeks ago.

Northland declared a state of emergency then too over fears of unprecedented rain, but those concerns proved to be unfounded.