NZ Historic Weather Events Catalog

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ModerateJuly 1953 Upper North Island Flooding ( 1953-07-04 )

15-46 years

Heavy rain brought flooding to Northland, Auckland, the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, causing damage and blocking roads. A large flood in the Waikato River caused widespread flooding.

North Island

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at North Island
Duration:   4  days - From the 4th to the 7th of July.
Comments:

CauseOn the 3rd a depression was centred in the north-east Tasman, and a northerly airstream covered the North Island. On the 4th a second small depression formed and moved southwards, crossing the Auckland peninsula and the Taranaki province. on the 5th. On the 6th rain occurred across the North Island to Auckland city (four periods of rainfall). The second dpression continued to move southwards on the 6th, and passed to the east of the South Island. On the same day the depression which had been stationary over the Tasman Sea commenced to move eastward. A low-level flow over most of the North Island from the northeast was very slow moving.

Affected LifelineRoad damage was widespread from Auckland to Te Awamutu, with several major highways blocked by slips.

Affected LifelineNo NAC flights from Whangarei to Auckland were operating on the 4th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentThere was high rainfall in Northland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty on the 4th.

CommentThe rainfall was 50% above normal for Auckland-Hamilton-Arapuni-Morrinsville for the months of April, May and June 1953. As a result of this persistently dull, wet weather, the ground was in an excessively wet condtion by the end of June.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe regions affected included the whole of te Auckland and Waikato provinces, and Northland except for the Far North district.

Affected LifelineThe Auckland-Hamilton State Highway was closed on the 7th and reopened on the 21st. The Auckland to Paeroa-Thames highway was covered in flood waters in places.

Physical CharacteristicThe Auckland-Hamilton State Highway was flooded with water 2 ft (60 cm) deep.

Physical CharacteristicThe water over the Auckland-Paeroa-Thames highway was about 5 ft (1.5 m) deep in places.

Affected LifelineBus services travelling between Hamilton and Auckland were disrupted, and had to be re-routed through Morrinsville, Te Aroha and Paeroa.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe main Hamilton-Rotorua highway was completely blocked by slips.

South Island

LandslideLandslide at South Island
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe main south highway between Blenheim and Christchurch was cut by a slip on the 7th.

Northland

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Northland
Comments:

CommentWeather on the 3rd: "A depression covers the North Island. An anticyclone cvers the Tasman Sea and southern New Zealand. Forecast to midnight on Saturday: Light to moderate winds, turning southerly overnight. Showers and long fair intervals tomorrow. Moderate temperatures. Outlook for Sunday: Fair."

CommentWeather on the 4th: "A depression over the north Tasman extends over the north-west of the country. A high pressure ridge is across southern and eastern New Zealand. Forecast to midnight on Sunday: Light or moderate easterly winds. Variable skies. Local showers during day with occasional heavy areas of fog and drizzle tonight. Temperatures moderate. Outlook for Monday: Occasional showers."

CommentWeather on the 6th: "A complex low-pressure trough covers New Zealand. Forecast to midnight on Tuesday: Light or moderate north-west winds. Occasional showers, heavy in places, with the risk of local thunder. Temperatures mild. Outlook for Wednesday: Westerley winds and showers."

DamageSerious damage occurred throughout Northland.

Damage CostDamage to state highways in Northland totalled £3,000 ($143,800 2008 dollars).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentRivers and streams had high flood levels.

Stock DamageThere were heavy stock losses in Northland. Stock losses in the Whangarei district were in the thousands of pounds.

Property DamageProperty damage was heavy in the Whangarei district.

CommentStreams rose so rapidly that some farmers did not have enough warning to get their stock moved to higher ground, particularly in the Otonga and Opuawhanga areas.

Affected LifelineWashouts were widespread on the coast roads in the Whangarei district.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were numerous slips on the Whangarei-Russell road on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding at Hikurangi Swamp
Map Location: -35.56867 174.23537
Comments:

CommentThe flood waters rose swiftly in the area around the Hikurangi Swamp.

Stock DamageThere were severe stock losses in the Hikurangi swamp area.

FloodingFlooding at Hukerenui
Map Location: -35.51942 174.190367
Comments:

Affected LifelineWater was across the Hukerenui road by midnight on the 4th, although it was still passable.

LandslideLandslide at Kiripaka
Map Location: -35.641646 174.426634
Comments:

Affected LifelineA slip ocurred on the Whangarei-Ngunguru road at Kiripaka. A bus was held up on the Ngunguru side on the morning of the 6th. Another slips blocked the Kiripaka road at the Kiripaka reserve on the 7th. The slip covered the road and pushed it up about 20 in (50 cm), leaving it impassable.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Kiripaka flats were inundated by the Kiripaka River and were impassable on the morning of the 5th.

Physical CharacteristicThe Kiripaka River rose 8 ft (2.4 m).

Stock DamageA Kiripaka farmer lost two fat Hereford bullocks worth about £40 ($1900 2008 dollars) each. Another farmer was reported to have lost his fowls and 17 sheep.

LandslideLandslide at Marua
Map Location: -35.568632 174.361129
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a small slip on the road at Marua.

LandslideLandslide at Matapouri
Map Location: -35.564979 174.493979
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a small slip on the road at Matapouri.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Maungakaramea
Map Location: -35.844153 174.205054
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaungakaramea recorded 2.62 in (6.7 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 5th.

LandslideLandslide at Ngunguru
Map Location: -35.631206 174.495416
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a small slip on the road at Ngunguru.

FloodingFlooding at Opuawhanga
Map Location: -35.514467 174.333588
Comments:

Stock DamageStock losses were heavy in the Opuawhanga area.

FloodingFlooding at Otonga
Map Location: -35.561473 174.288186
Comments:

Stock DamageThere were heavy losses of sheep, cattle and pigs at Otonga. One farmer lost about 300 in-lamb ewes, worth between £4/10 and £5 ($197-$240 2008 dollars) each. A neighbouring farm lost 50-60 in-lamb ewes.

Affected LifelineThere was shallow water across the main north road at Otonga.

LandslideLandslide at Parua Bay
Map Location: -35.768282 174.458587
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Whangarei-Whangarei Heads road was blocked by a slip on Darkies Hill on the night of the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Riponui
Map Location: -35.566172 174.161973
Comments:

Affected LifelineWater was across the Riponui road by midnight on the 4th.

ImpactThere was severe flooding on farms adjoining the Whangarei-Riponui road. The water was still rising at a rate of 3 in an hour (7.6 cm/hour) on the night of the 5th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ruatangata West
Map Location: -35.66112 174.17358
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicRuatangata recorded 3.63 in (9.2 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding at Taiharuru
Map Location: -35.727394 174.543381
Comments:

Affected LifelineA bridge was washed away on the coast road at Taiharuru.

FloodingFlooding at Taumarere
Map Location: -35.36293 174.083045
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was water over the Kawakawa-Paihia highway at Taumarere for a time early on the morning of the 5th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wairua Falls
Map Location: -35.745955 174.084431
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Wairua Falls power station recorded 1.99 in (5.1 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe flood waters came within 6 in (15 cm) of the power station floor.

FloodingFlooding at Whakapara
Map Location: -35.541332 174.277325
Comments:

Affected LifelineWater was across the Whangarei-Russell road at Whimp's flat on the night of the 4th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Whangarei
Map Location: -35.719519 174.298397
Comments:

CommentA steady drizzle on the afternoon of the 4th turned into a steady downpour at about 3:45pm, which became torrential during that night. There were occasional showers on the 5th.

Physical CharacteristicWhangarei recorded 4.08 in (10.4 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 8am on the 5th.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Affected LifelineAll roads from Whangarei, except the main south road, were blocked by flood waters and slips in the early hours of the 5th. Most were passable again by midday.

Physical CharacteristicThe barometer read 29.91 at 8am on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicThe barometer read 29.85 at 8am on the 5th.

Physical CharacteristicThe barometer read 29.90 at 8am on the 6th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe Hatea River rose rapidly in the early hours of the 5th and broke its banks in a few places along the Paranui Valley.

Affected LifelineFlood waters were across the Whareora road in at least two places within a mile of Whangarei.

Property DamageA nursery along the river was inundated by the river and many plants were detroyed.

LandslideLandslide at Whangaruru
Map Location: -35.347801 174.327567
Comments:

Affected LifelineA large slip came down on the road at Whangaruru.

Auckland

FloodingFlooding at Auckland
Comments:

ImpactLow-lying parts of the city were inundated, and water entered many houses. Low-lying farmlands throughout most of the province were inundated.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentFlooding in some of the city areas waas the worst residents had experienced for over 40 years.

AreaMount Roskill, Otahuhu, Takapuna and Mount Wellington were the worst affected.

Stock DamageAt Surrey Flats, one farmer lost 500 sheep.

Crop DamageAt Surrey Flats, one farmer lost 1000 bales of hay.

ImpactAll Auckland metropolitan golf courses except for one were closed.

Affected LifelineHavoc was caused to secondary roads around the province.

CommentFlood waters in some South Auckland areas continued to rise on the morning of the 7th due to flooded tributaries of the Waikato River.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain set in at Auckland on the afternoon of the 4th and continued until 7am on the 5th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Auckland City
Map Location: -36.852397 174.762337
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMechanics Bay recorded 3.67 in (9.3 cm) of rain in 16 hours.

Physical CharacteristicAuckland recorded 3.95 in (10.03 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicAuckland recorded 3.96 in (10.06 cm) of rain in 4 days.

FloodingFlooding at Birkenhead
Map Location: -36.816899 174.728363
Comments:

ImpactThe Birkenhead Quarry was badly flooded.

FloodingFlooding at Clevedon
Map Location: -36.993102 175.038415
Comments:

Stock DamageClevedon was the worst hit with stock losses due to being a low-lying plain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe main street of Ellerslie was flooded. A torrent 10 ft (3 m) wide surged down the main Ellerslie highway.

LandslideLandslide at Dome Valley
Map Location: -36.371571 174.619756
Comments:

Affected LifelineA slip occurred on the state highway in the Dome Valley. A large volume off traffic was held up until mid afternoon on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding at Drury
Map Location: -37.10205 174.946507
Comments:

Property DamageA house and poultry buildings at Drury were engulfed by the flood waters of Drury Stream early on the morning of the 5th, forcing the residents to leave.

Peak Water LevelThe water in the house reached almost up the the ceiling rafters, and left a high-water mark 7 ft (2.1 m) above the floor.

Stock DamageMore than 700 adult poultry were drowned.

FloodingFlooding at Kaipara Flats
Map Location: -36.405695 174.538051
Comments:

ImpactFlood waters covered Kaipara Flats for miles.

Stock DamageA considerable number of dead sheep were seen.

LandslideLandslide at Karaka Bay
Map Location: -36.849099 174.877207
Comments:

Property DamageAt Karaka Bay, Glendowie, a new £5,000 ($240,000 2008 dollars) house was completely wrecked by a slip early on the afternoon of the 5th. The slip also twisted part of the frame of another house being built and brought down large pohutukawa trees.

FloodingFlooding at Mount Roskill
Map Location: -36.917289 174.734807
Comments:

Property DamageAt Mt Roskill, water seeped through floorboards and gardens were completely submerged.

FloodingFlooding at Mount Wellington
Map Location: -36.910808 174.826681
Comments:

ImpactLow-lying areas of Mt Wellington were swamped. Three houses were flooded.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Onewhero
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOnewhero recorded 4.28 in (10.87 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicOnewhero recorded 4.70 in (11.94 cm) of rain in 4 days from the 3rd til the 6th.

FloodingFlooding at Otahuhu
Map Location: -36.945273 174.840503
Comments:

Peak Water LevelThe water in the Sturges Park area rose to 4 ft (1.2 m).

FloodingFlooding at Papatoetoe
Map Location: -36.977687 174.842486
Comments:

ImpactMany Papatoetoe gardens were submerged.

FloodingFlooding at Ponsonby
Map Location: -36.852322 174.739343
Comments:

ImpactWater entered the Rob Roy hotel in Ponsonby to a depth of 2 in (5 cm).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pukekohe
Map Location: -37.206561 174.898162
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPukekohe recorded 4.4 in (11.2 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9:30am on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe floods at Pukekohe were the worst since January 1907.

FloodingFlooding at Remuera
Map Location: -36.876567 174.799415
Comments:

ImpactThe Remuera Golf Club's main course had 150 acres (0.61 km^2) flooded.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineHuge cracks, more than 12 in (30 cm) wide appeared on the left-hand side of Orakei Road.

FloodingFlooding at Takapuna
Map Location: -36.787162 174.755633
Comments:

ImpactTwo Takapuna houses were entered by flood waters.

Physical CharacteristicWater 4 ft (1.2 m) deep water swamped a carpark.

Property DamageGardens were ruined and small trees swept away.

CommentWairau Creek was the main source of the flooding.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Warkworth
Map Location: -36.40461 174.668477
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWarkworth recorded 6.09 in (15.47 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicWarkworth recorded 6.15 in (15.62 cm) of rain in 4 days.

Waikato

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waikato
Comments:

CommentThere were excessively wet ground conditions at the end of June.

CommentThe rainfall amounts were similar to those for the flood of April 1924, but this flood was much more serious.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe whole province suffered major flooding on the 7th.

CommentThe Waikato River had a major flood - the most serious since June 1907.

ImpactThe Waikato River was in violent flood over 30 miles (48 km) of its course. It burst its banks on the morning of the 7th and spread over tens of thousands of acres from Huntly through to Tuakau. Thousands of acres between Ngaruawahia and Mercer were under water. From Lake Waikare in the east to Lake Whangape in the west only occasional knolls of dry land were visible.

CommentSwampy areas from Huntly north to Ohinemuri and Rangiriri were among the worst affected.

Affected LifelineThe main state highway was covered at many points, with one place impassable for several days. Other roads and highways in the area were also closed due to flooding.

ImpactThe Works Department pulled 40 cars from the floods between Mercer and Rangiriri.

ImpactThousands of cattle were marooned and starving in flooded areas.

AreaAbout 25,000 hectares of developed and partly-developed farmland along the banks of the Waikato River, mainly below Huntly, was inundated.

ImpactThe period of flooding varied, but 5000 hectares of first-class dairying land was under water for two or three weeks, some areas being affected for longer.

Physical CharacteristicRiver levels were well below those recorded in 1907.

Peak Water LevelWaikato farmlands were flooded up to 4 ft (1.2 m) deep.

CommentFarmers in the Franklin district could not remember worse flooding in 40 years.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Damage CostDamage to state highways in the district totalled £8,160 ($391,200 2008 dollars).

Damage CostDamage to country roads and bridges totalled £58,500 ($2,805,000 2008 dollars).

FloodingFlooding at Aka Aka
Map Location: -37.291859 174.784866
Comments:

ImpactThe Aka aka area was flooded.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Arapuni
Map Location: -38.069486 175.651148
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicArapuni recorded 0.77 in (2.0 cm) of rain in one hour.

Physical CharacteristicArapuni recorded 2.95 in (7.5 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicArapuni recorded 4.50 in (11.43 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicArapuni recorded 4.98 in (12.6 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Karapiro and Arapuni dams were passing 5000 cusecs (142 cumecs) of water above requirements.

FloodingFlooding at Cambridge
Map Location: -37.886228 175.445175
Comments:

ImpactOn some Cambridge farms the water was as high as the fences.

CommentThe flooding in Cambridge was the worst for 40 years.

FloodingFlooding at Godonton
Map Location: -37.673001 175.299382
Comments:

ImpactThe Orini-Gordonton area was severely flooded on the morning of the 7th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hamilton
Map Location: -37.780816 175.272836
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicRuakura recorded 1.01 in (2.6 cm) of rain in one hour.

Physical CharacteristicHamilton recorded 4.10 in (10.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicHamilton recorded 4.25 in (10.8 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th (The Ministry of Works, 1954).

Physical CharacteristicHamilton Airport recorded 4.5 in (11.4 cm) of rain on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicHamilton recorded 0.74 in (1.9 cm) of rain on the night of the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicHamilton recorded 6.00 in (15.2 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th (Return Period 15 years).

Physical CharacteristicRuakura recorded 6.05 in (15.4 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River rose rapidly at Hamilton, and was 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m) above normal.

ImpactThe Waikato River reached its peak level at Hamilton on the 7th, and it overflowed its banks in many places. The peak soon passed Hamilton and it was lower down the river that the most extensive and protracted flooding occurred.

ImpactMany residential areas were flooded on the 6th, with Frankton, Claudelands and Hamilton East being the worst hit. Houses in Frankton were isolated by flood waters. About 250 homes were surounded by water. Nearly 100 houses in the Killarney Road, Ellis Street and Bandon Street area were completely surrounded. The water only entered a few homes. The flood waters began to recede at dusk but the heavy rain that night brought the water back up to all the houses.

EvacueesOne house was evacuated by dinghy, with water lying an inch deep over the floors.

ImpactRuakura paddocks were well under water and a motor camp on Peachgrove Road was flooded..

Affected LifelineThere were slight delays to the railways.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Evacuees60 girls were evacuated from the Hamilton High School hostel in River Road on the afternoon of the 5th due to a slip on the bank of the Waikato River.

FloodingFlooding at Hauraki Plains
Map Location: -37.337475 175.454918
Comments:

CommentThere was a major flood over the Hauraki Plains.

FloodingFlooding at Huntly
Map Location: -37.559936 175.162622
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River rose 7-8 ft (2.1-2.4 m) above normal at Huntly.

ImpactAt Huntly, low-lying areas were flooded. Many houses and several factories were surrounded by flood waters. Some houses on the west side of the highway south were completely were surrounded by water. A block of public works huts was awash and a partially-built school had water up to its doorstep..

ImpactOn the west bank of the Waikato River between Huntly and Rangiriri, the low stop banks were overtopped, causing flooding in low areas between the river and Lakes Rotongaro and Whangape.

AreaThere was 12,000 acres (48.56 km^2) of sheet flooding.

Physical CharacteristicCountry roads were flooded to depths of 3 ft (90 cm).

ImpactSome homes were vacated.

Peak River FlowThe Waikato River at Huntly had a peak discharge of 43,380 cusecs (1228 cumecs) on the 8th (gauged near the peak).

Affected LifelineThe railway bridge at Huntly was damaged. The rail link was still intact but had a narrow causeway through floodwaters in some places.

Affected LifelineThe Huntly west road was closed. The highway from Huntly to Pukemiro and Rotowaro was blocked.

ImpactCream collection services were down.

ImpactCattle were being mustered by boat, and swum to and from milking.

Property DamageHeavy fence damage was caused by floating logs and debris.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Karapiro
Map Location: -37.918771 175.541899
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKarapiro recorded 3.91 in (9.9 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Karapiro and Arapuni dams were passing 5000 cusecs (142 cumecs) of water above requirements.

FloodingFlooding at Lake Taupo
Map Location: -38.783172 176.021652
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLake Taupo rose over an inch (2.5 cm) above its maximum control level.

FloodingFlooding at Lake Waikare
Map Location: -37.435468 175.189289
Comments:

CommentLarge quantities of water entered Lake Waikare.

FloodingFlooding at Mangatangi Stream
Map Location: -37.224378 175.174804
Comments:

Affected LifelineMangatangi Stream flowed across the Paeroa-Pokeno state highway, blocking the road.

Physical CharacteristicFlood waters covered the road to a depth of 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m).

FloodingFlooding at Mangatawhiri
Map Location: -37.218243 175.119949
Comments:

Affected LifelineMangatawhiri Stream flooded the Paeroa-Pokeno highway, blocking the road.

Physical CharacteristicThe road was covered to a depth of 3-4 ft (90 cm-1.2 m).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Maraetai
Map Location: -38.356113 175.746764
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaraetai recorded 1.80in (4.6 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Maramarua
Map Location: -37.254046 175.223651
Comments:

Property DamageAt Maramarua, a house was washed away, transported 2 miles (3.2 km) and badly damaged.

Stock Damage1000 sheep were lost in the Maramarua-Mangatangi area.

FloodingFlooding at Mercer
Map Location: -37.280396 175.051333
Comments:

ImpactAt Rangiriri and Mercer, all low-lying and swampy areas were inundated.

Affected LifelineFlooding occurred at the Mercer station and the railways were partially closed there.

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River at Mercer was 2.50 ft (76 cm) below the peak of the 1907 flood.

Peak River FlowThe Waikato River at Mercer had a peak discharge of 49,000 cusecs (1388 cumecs), with a catchment area of 5290 square miles (13,701 km^2).

Peak River LevelThe Waikato River at Mercer reached a height of 113.7 ft (34.66 m).

EvacueesAt Mercer, houses on the road along the river were vacated for several days. Nine houses along Mercer Bank were evacuated.

Physical CharacteristicThere was 6 ft (1.8 m) of water lying in the Roose Shipping Company's workshop.

CommentMercer was the worst affected area.

CommentThe maximum flood flow at Mercer, reached on the 13th, was approximately two-thirds of that in the 1907 flood.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Morrinsville
Map Location: -37.653686 175.524375
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMorrinsville recorded 3.46 in (8.79 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicMorrinsville recorded 3.64 in (9.26 cm) of rain in 4 days.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ngaruawahia
Map Location: -37.668325 175.128
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNgaruawahia recorded 3.69 in (9.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicNgaruawahia recorded 5.72 in (14.5 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River rose 10 ft (3.0 m) above normal at Ngaruawahia.

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River at Ngaruawahia was 4.30 ft (1.31 m) below the peak of the 1907 flood.

Peak River FlowThe Waipa River at the Ngaruawahia Bridge had a peak discharge of over 20,000 cusecs (566 cumecs) on the 7th.

Peak River LevelThe Waipa River at the Ngaruawahia Bridge reached a height of 16.75 ft (5.11 m) on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding at Orini
Map Location: -37.558269 175.311466
Comments:

ImpactAt Orini, many acres of farmland were under water.

Crop DamageCrops were ruined.

Stock DamageThere were stock losses.

FloodingFlooding at Otorohanga
Map Location: -38.174188 175.209784
Comments:

ImpactThe Otorohanga township was flooded by the Waipa River.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pokeno
Map Location: -37.245504 175.0131
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPokeno recorded 4.00 in (10.2 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Rangiriri
Map Location: -37.43113 175.134897
Comments:

Affected LifelineState Highway 1 south of Te Onetea Stream (at Rangiriri) was blocked by flood waters.

ImpactAt Rangiriri and Mercer, all low-lying and swampy areas were inundated.

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River at Rangiriri was 2.95 ft (90 cm) below the peak of the 1907 flood.

Stock DamageThere were an estimated 1000 stock losses in Rangiriri.

FloodingFlooding at Taupiri
Map Location: -37.617086 175.189891
Comments:

ImpactThe dairy factory at Taupiri was not working after the pumping machinery went under water.

DamageMany pastures were covered in 6 in (15 cm) of silt. Farmers said it may take 12 months before the land was in full production.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Taupo
Map Location: -38.69531 176.070758
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 1.09 in (2.8 cm) of rain in one hour.

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 2.01 in (5.1 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 1.52 in (3.9 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th (Ministry of Works, 1954).

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 5.06 in (12.85 cm) of rain in three days.

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 5.48 in (13.9 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th (Return Period 15 years).

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 89 mm (8.9 cm) of rain in 18 hours (Return Period 15 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Awamutu
Map Location: -38.009384 175.334988
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Awamutu recorded 3.80 in (9.7 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Te Kohanga
Map Location: -37.314673 174.848649
Comments:

ImpactSwampy areas at Tuakau, and low-lying land at Onepoto and Te Kohanga were flooded, with 3000 acres (12.14 km^2) of developed land inundated.

FloodingFlooding at Te Kowhai
Map Location: -37.737182 175.156211
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Te Kowhai to Whatawhata, and the Te Kowhai to Ngaruawahia roads were under some feet of water in several places.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Kuiti
Map Location: -38.3277 175.172348
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Kuiti recorded 2.91 in (7.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tongariro
Map Location: -39.02942 175.635411
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTongariro recorded 1.96 in (5.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Tuakau
Map Location: -37.257675 174.938464
Comments:

ImpactSwampy areas at Tuakau, Onepoto and Te Kohanga were flooded, with 3000 acres (12.14 km^2) of developed land inundated.

Peak River FlowThe Waikato River at Tuakau Bridge had a peak discharge of 42,220 cusecs (1196 cumecs) on the 9th.

Peak River LevelThe Waikato River at Tuakau Bridge reached a flood height of 14.00 ft (4.27 m) on the 9th.

FloodingFlooding at Waipa River
Map Location: -38.251404 175.335123
Comments:

ImpactThe Waipa River flooded low-lying land between Te Kuiti and Otorohanga and the basin of the main Waipa River.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wairakei
Map Location: -38.626082 176.080353
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWairakei recorded 1.16 in (2.9 cm) of rain in one hour.

FloodingFlooding at Whangamarino
Map Location: -37.347207 175.116526
Comments:

AreaWhangamarino swamp had 25,000 acres (101.17 km^2) flooded.

Bay of Plenty

FloodingFlooding at Bay of Plenty
Comments:

CommentThe Whakatane and Rangitaiki Rivers were in high flood.

Damage CostState highways in the district suffered damage to the extent of £4,290 ($205,700 2008 dollars).

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Tauranga-Te Puke highway was blocked by major slips. The Rotorua-Tauranga road was also blocked by slips and slips occurred on the Tauranga-Katikati highway.

Affected LifelineThe Kaimai main road was blocked by a large slip.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Waitao and Rotorua direct roads were blocked.

FloodingFlooding at Edgecumbe
Map Location: -37.978901 176.814184
Comments:

Stock DamageStock losses at Awakeri and Edgecumbe were slight.

ImpactAt Awakeri and Edgecumbe, many hundreds of acres were turned into lakes.

FloodingFlooding at Lake Rotoiti
Map Location: -38.037247 176.427951
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLake Rotoiti rose 2 ft (60 cm).

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Lower Kaimai
Map Location: -37.800676 176.03073
Comments:

Affected LifelineBelk Road was blocked at the Kerikeri road bridge.

FloodingFlooding at Ngongotaha
Map Location: -38.076778 176.218274
Comments:

CommentNgongotaha Stream broke its banks.

LandslideLandslide at Omokoroa
Map Location: -37.664863 176.035125
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a slip on the East Coast main trunk line at Omokoroa, which blocked the road.

FloodingFlooding at Oropi
Map Location: -37.838566 176.160825
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWater 4 ft (1.2 m) deep closed Oropi Road.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Rotorua
Map Location: -38.140434 176.262282
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain fell across most of the Rotorua district.

Physical CharacteristicRotorua recorded 4.00 in (10.2 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThere was extensive flooding in some areas. About 20 houses in the Holland Street area were surrounded.

Peak Water LevelRotorua houses were invaded with water up to 1 ft (30 cm) deep.

DamageSerious damage occurred.

Property DamagePersonal damage was severe.

Physical CharacteristicThe Rotorua lakes reached their highest levels for many years.

CommentUtahina Stream broke its banks.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tauranga
Map Location: -37.679532 176.173022
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTauranga Aerodome recorded 3.38 in (8.6 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineMt Maunganui airport was flooded.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineMany minor slips blocked several roads in Tauranga County.

FloodingFlooding at Te Puke
Map Location: -37.779011 176.33425
Comments:

AreaIn the Te Puke area, 14,000 acres (56.66 km^2) of farmland were under water.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waiotapu
Map Location: -38.340141 176.355126
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiotapu recorded 4.51 in (11.46 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicWaiotapu recorded 5.47 in (13.9 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Whakarewarewa
Map Location: -38.162602 176.251087
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWhakarewarewa recorded 5.19 in (13.18 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicWhakarewarewa recorded 6.41 in (16.28 cm) of rain in 4 days.

FloodingFlooding at Whakatane
Map Location: -37.967356 176.992417
Comments:

ImpactLarge areas of farmland were inundated around Whakatane.

Marlborough

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Woodbourne
Map Location: -41.509671 173.865652
Comments:

Affected LifelineWoodbourne arifield was closed on the 6th after steady rain on the 5th saturated the ground. It was reopened to passenger traffic on the morning of the 7th.

Canterbury

LandslideLandslide at Rakautara
Map Location: -42.26513 173.800591
Comments:

Affected LifelineA large slip at Rakautara blocked the main south highway between Blenheim and Christchurch early on the morning of the 7th.

References

Cowie, C.A.; Attwood, A.K. (1957). Floods in New Zealand 1920-1953. The Soil Conservation Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand.
Finkelstein, J. (1954). The Waikato Flood of July 1953. New Zealand Meteorological Service Technical Note No. 108.
Hydrology Annual No.3 1955. Soil Conservation and River Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand.
Major weather events in New Zealand, Floods and High Rainfall, Floods to 31st July 2006.
Ministry of Works. (1954). Waikato River Floods of July 1953 and July 1952.
New Zealand Meteorological Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Owen, R.E. (1957). Rainfall Observations for 1953. New Zealand Meteorological Service.
Shearer, A.R. (1969). Hydrology Annual, No.14 1966. Published by the Ministry of Works, The Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand.
Headline: Heavy Rain Causes Slips On County Roads.
The Bay Of Plenty Times, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Widespread damage in province.
The Bay of Plenty Times, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Wide flood damage, Night-long deluge over Auckland area.
The New Zealand Herald, 5 July 1953.
Headline: Wide flood damage: Roads, farms and stock suffer severely.
The New Zealand Herald, 5 July 1953.
Headline: Weather.
The Northern Advocate, 3 July 1953.
Headline: Weather.
The Northern Advocate, 4 July 1953.
Headline: Heavy stock losses follow sudden flooding at week-end: Many roads affected, but mostly clear today.
The Northern Advocate, 6 July 1953.
Headline: New house wrecked by great slip.
The Northern Advocate, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Weather.
The Northern Advocate, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Young woman fights to save home from flood.
The Northern Advocate, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Large slip on Kiripaka Road.
The Northern Advocate, 7 July 1953.
Headline: River spills out in miles' wide flood.
The Northern Advocate, 7 July 1953.
Headline: Waikato bursts its banks, inundates vast farm area.
The Northern Advocate, 7 July 1953.
Headline: House carried town miles by floods.
The Waikato Times 9 July 1953.
Headline: Continued rainfall unwelcome in areas affected by flood.
The Waikato Times, 10 July 1953.
Headline: Depeening waters on main highway: Flood spreads over 30 miles.
The Waikato Times, 11 July 1953.
Headline: Clevedon worst hit: Losses of stock.
The Waikato Times, 7 July 1953.
Headline: Flood damage widespread.
The Waikato Times, 7 July 1953.
Headline: Worst of floods down stream: Main North Road blocked.
The Waikato Times, 8 July 1953.

ModerateJuly 1953 Upper North Island Flooding ( 1953-07-04 )

15-46 years

Heavy rain brought flooding to Northland, Auckland, the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, causing damage and blocking roads. A large flood in the Waikato River caused widespread flooding.

North Island

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at North Island
Duration:   4  days - From the 4th to the 7th of July.
Comments:

CauseOn the 3rd a depression was centred in the north-east Tasman, and a northerly airstream covered the North Island. On the 4th a second small depression formed and moved southwards, crossing the Auckland peninsula and the Taranaki province. on the 5th. On the 6th rain occurred across the North Island to Auckland city (four periods of rainfall). The second dpression continued to move southwards on the 6th, and passed to the east of the South Island. On the same day the depression which had been stationary over the Tasman Sea commenced to move eastward. A low-level flow over most of the North Island from the northeast was very slow moving.

Affected LifelineRoad damage was widespread from Auckland to Te Awamutu, with several major highways blocked by slips.

Affected LifelineNo NAC flights from Whangarei to Auckland were operating on the 4th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentThere was high rainfall in Northland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty on the 4th.

CommentThe rainfall was 50% above normal for Auckland-Hamilton-Arapuni-Morrinsville for the months of April, May and June 1953. As a result of this persistently dull, wet weather, the ground was in an excessively wet condtion by the end of June.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe regions affected included the whole of te Auckland and Waikato provinces, and Northland except for the Far North district.

Affected LifelineThe Auckland-Hamilton State Highway was closed on the 7th and reopened on the 21st. The Auckland to Paeroa-Thames highway was covered in flood waters in places.

Physical CharacteristicThe Auckland-Hamilton State Highway was flooded with water 2 ft (60 cm) deep.

Physical CharacteristicThe water over the Auckland-Paeroa-Thames highway was about 5 ft (1.5 m) deep in places.

Affected LifelineBus services travelling between Hamilton and Auckland were disrupted, and had to be re-routed through Morrinsville, Te Aroha and Paeroa.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe main Hamilton-Rotorua highway was completely blocked by slips.

South Island

LandslideLandslide at South Island
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe main south highway between Blenheim and Christchurch was cut by a slip on the 7th.

Northland

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Northland
Comments:

CommentWeather on the 3rd: "A depression covers the North Island. An anticyclone cvers the Tasman Sea and southern New Zealand. Forecast to midnight on Saturday: Light to moderate winds, turning southerly overnight. Showers and long fair intervals tomorrow. Moderate temperatures. Outlook for Sunday: Fair."

CommentWeather on the 4th: "A depression over the north Tasman extends over the north-west of the country. A high pressure ridge is across southern and eastern New Zealand. Forecast to midnight on Sunday: Light or moderate easterly winds. Variable skies. Local showers during day with occasional heavy areas of fog and drizzle tonight. Temperatures moderate. Outlook for Monday: Occasional showers."

CommentWeather on the 6th: "A complex low-pressure trough covers New Zealand. Forecast to midnight on Tuesday: Light or moderate north-west winds. Occasional showers, heavy in places, with the risk of local thunder. Temperatures mild. Outlook for Wednesday: Westerley winds and showers."

DamageSerious damage occurred throughout Northland.

Damage CostDamage to state highways in Northland totalled £3,000 ($143,800 2008 dollars).

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentRivers and streams had high flood levels.

Stock DamageThere were heavy stock losses in Northland. Stock losses in the Whangarei district were in the thousands of pounds.

Property DamageProperty damage was heavy in the Whangarei district.

CommentStreams rose so rapidly that some farmers did not have enough warning to get their stock moved to higher ground, particularly in the Otonga and Opuawhanga areas.

Affected LifelineWashouts were widespread on the coast roads in the Whangarei district.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were numerous slips on the Whangarei-Russell road on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding at Hikurangi Swamp
Map Location: -35.56867 174.23537
Comments:

CommentThe flood waters rose swiftly in the area around the Hikurangi Swamp.

Stock DamageThere were severe stock losses in the Hikurangi swamp area.

FloodingFlooding at Hukerenui
Map Location: -35.51942 174.190367
Comments:

Affected LifelineWater was across the Hukerenui road by midnight on the 4th, although it was still passable.

LandslideLandslide at Kiripaka
Map Location: -35.641646 174.426634
Comments:

Affected LifelineA slip ocurred on the Whangarei-Ngunguru road at Kiripaka. A bus was held up on the Ngunguru side on the morning of the 6th. Another slips blocked the Kiripaka road at the Kiripaka reserve on the 7th. The slip covered the road and pushed it up about 20 in (50 cm), leaving it impassable.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Kiripaka flats were inundated by the Kiripaka River and were impassable on the morning of the 5th.

Physical CharacteristicThe Kiripaka River rose 8 ft (2.4 m).

Stock DamageA Kiripaka farmer lost two fat Hereford bullocks worth about £40 ($1900 2008 dollars) each. Another farmer was reported to have lost his fowls and 17 sheep.

LandslideLandslide at Marua
Map Location: -35.568632 174.361129
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a small slip on the road at Marua.

LandslideLandslide at Matapouri
Map Location: -35.564979 174.493979
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a small slip on the road at Matapouri.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Maungakaramea
Map Location: -35.844153 174.205054
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaungakaramea recorded 2.62 in (6.7 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 5th.

LandslideLandslide at Ngunguru
Map Location: -35.631206 174.495416
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a small slip on the road at Ngunguru.

FloodingFlooding at Opuawhanga
Map Location: -35.514467 174.333588
Comments:

Stock DamageStock losses were heavy in the Opuawhanga area.

FloodingFlooding at Otonga
Map Location: -35.561473 174.288186
Comments:

Stock DamageThere were heavy losses of sheep, cattle and pigs at Otonga. One farmer lost about 300 in-lamb ewes, worth between £4/10 and £5 ($197-$240 2008 dollars) each. A neighbouring farm lost 50-60 in-lamb ewes.

Affected LifelineThere was shallow water across the main north road at Otonga.

LandslideLandslide at Parua Bay
Map Location: -35.768282 174.458587
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Whangarei-Whangarei Heads road was blocked by a slip on Darkies Hill on the night of the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Riponui
Map Location: -35.566172 174.161973
Comments:

Affected LifelineWater was across the Riponui road by midnight on the 4th.

ImpactThere was severe flooding on farms adjoining the Whangarei-Riponui road. The water was still rising at a rate of 3 in an hour (7.6 cm/hour) on the night of the 5th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ruatangata West
Map Location: -35.66112 174.17358
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicRuatangata recorded 3.63 in (9.2 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding at Taiharuru
Map Location: -35.727394 174.543381
Comments:

Affected LifelineA bridge was washed away on the coast road at Taiharuru.

FloodingFlooding at Taumarere
Map Location: -35.36293 174.083045
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was water over the Kawakawa-Paihia highway at Taumarere for a time early on the morning of the 5th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wairua Falls
Map Location: -35.745955 174.084431
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Wairua Falls power station recorded 1.99 in (5.1 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe flood waters came within 6 in (15 cm) of the power station floor.

FloodingFlooding at Whakapara
Map Location: -35.541332 174.277325
Comments:

Affected LifelineWater was across the Whangarei-Russell road at Whimp's flat on the night of the 4th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Whangarei
Map Location: -35.719519 174.298397
Comments:

CommentA steady drizzle on the afternoon of the 4th turned into a steady downpour at about 3:45pm, which became torrential during that night. There were occasional showers on the 5th.

Physical CharacteristicWhangarei recorded 4.08 in (10.4 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 8am on the 5th.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Affected LifelineAll roads from Whangarei, except the main south road, were blocked by flood waters and slips in the early hours of the 5th. Most were passable again by midday.

Physical CharacteristicThe barometer read 29.91 at 8am on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicThe barometer read 29.85 at 8am on the 5th.

Physical CharacteristicThe barometer read 29.90 at 8am on the 6th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe Hatea River rose rapidly in the early hours of the 5th and broke its banks in a few places along the Paranui Valley.

Affected LifelineFlood waters were across the Whareora road in at least two places within a mile of Whangarei.

Property DamageA nursery along the river was inundated by the river and many plants were detroyed.

LandslideLandslide at Whangaruru
Map Location: -35.347801 174.327567
Comments:

Affected LifelineA large slip came down on the road at Whangaruru.

Auckland

FloodingFlooding at Auckland
Comments:

ImpactLow-lying parts of the city were inundated, and water entered many houses. Low-lying farmlands throughout most of the province were inundated.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentFlooding in some of the city areas waas the worst residents had experienced for over 40 years.

AreaMount Roskill, Otahuhu, Takapuna and Mount Wellington were the worst affected.

Stock DamageAt Surrey Flats, one farmer lost 500 sheep.

Crop DamageAt Surrey Flats, one farmer lost 1000 bales of hay.

ImpactAll Auckland metropolitan golf courses except for one were closed.

Affected LifelineHavoc was caused to secondary roads around the province.

CommentFlood waters in some South Auckland areas continued to rise on the morning of the 7th due to flooded tributaries of the Waikato River.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain set in at Auckland on the afternoon of the 4th and continued until 7am on the 5th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Auckland City
Map Location: -36.852397 174.762337
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMechanics Bay recorded 3.67 in (9.3 cm) of rain in 16 hours.

Physical CharacteristicAuckland recorded 3.95 in (10.03 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicAuckland recorded 3.96 in (10.06 cm) of rain in 4 days.

FloodingFlooding at Birkenhead
Map Location: -36.816899 174.728363
Comments:

ImpactThe Birkenhead Quarry was badly flooded.

FloodingFlooding at Clevedon
Map Location: -36.993102 175.038415
Comments:

Stock DamageClevedon was the worst hit with stock losses due to being a low-lying plain.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe main street of Ellerslie was flooded. A torrent 10 ft (3 m) wide surged down the main Ellerslie highway.

LandslideLandslide at Dome Valley
Map Location: -36.371571 174.619756
Comments:

Affected LifelineA slip occurred on the state highway in the Dome Valley. A large volume off traffic was held up until mid afternoon on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding at Drury
Map Location: -37.10205 174.946507
Comments:

Property DamageA house and poultry buildings at Drury were engulfed by the flood waters of Drury Stream early on the morning of the 5th, forcing the residents to leave.

Peak Water LevelThe water in the house reached almost up the the ceiling rafters, and left a high-water mark 7 ft (2.1 m) above the floor.

Stock DamageMore than 700 adult poultry were drowned.

FloodingFlooding at Kaipara Flats
Map Location: -36.405695 174.538051
Comments:

ImpactFlood waters covered Kaipara Flats for miles.

Stock DamageA considerable number of dead sheep were seen.

LandslideLandslide at Karaka Bay
Map Location: -36.849099 174.877207
Comments:

Property DamageAt Karaka Bay, Glendowie, a new £5,000 ($240,000 2008 dollars) house was completely wrecked by a slip early on the afternoon of the 5th. The slip also twisted part of the frame of another house being built and brought down large pohutukawa trees.

FloodingFlooding at Mount Roskill
Map Location: -36.917289 174.734807
Comments:

Property DamageAt Mt Roskill, water seeped through floorboards and gardens were completely submerged.

FloodingFlooding at Mount Wellington
Map Location: -36.910808 174.826681
Comments:

ImpactLow-lying areas of Mt Wellington were swamped. Three houses were flooded.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Onewhero
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOnewhero recorded 4.28 in (10.87 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicOnewhero recorded 4.70 in (11.94 cm) of rain in 4 days from the 3rd til the 6th.

FloodingFlooding at Otahuhu
Map Location: -36.945273 174.840503
Comments:

Peak Water LevelThe water in the Sturges Park area rose to 4 ft (1.2 m).

FloodingFlooding at Papatoetoe
Map Location: -36.977687 174.842486
Comments:

ImpactMany Papatoetoe gardens were submerged.

FloodingFlooding at Ponsonby
Map Location: -36.852322 174.739343
Comments:

ImpactWater entered the Rob Roy hotel in Ponsonby to a depth of 2 in (5 cm).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pukekohe
Map Location: -37.206561 174.898162
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPukekohe recorded 4.4 in (11.2 cm) of rain in the 24 hours to 9:30am on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe floods at Pukekohe were the worst since January 1907.

FloodingFlooding at Remuera
Map Location: -36.876567 174.799415
Comments:

ImpactThe Remuera Golf Club's main course had 150 acres (0.61 km^2) flooded.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineHuge cracks, more than 12 in (30 cm) wide appeared on the left-hand side of Orakei Road.

FloodingFlooding at Takapuna
Map Location: -36.787162 174.755633
Comments:

ImpactTwo Takapuna houses were entered by flood waters.

Physical CharacteristicWater 4 ft (1.2 m) deep water swamped a carpark.

Property DamageGardens were ruined and small trees swept away.

CommentWairau Creek was the main source of the flooding.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Warkworth
Map Location: -36.40461 174.668477
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWarkworth recorded 6.09 in (15.47 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicWarkworth recorded 6.15 in (15.62 cm) of rain in 4 days.

Waikato

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waikato
Comments:

CommentThere were excessively wet ground conditions at the end of June.

CommentThe rainfall amounts were similar to those for the flood of April 1924, but this flood was much more serious.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe whole province suffered major flooding on the 7th.

CommentThe Waikato River had a major flood - the most serious since June 1907.

ImpactThe Waikato River was in violent flood over 30 miles (48 km) of its course. It burst its banks on the morning of the 7th and spread over tens of thousands of acres from Huntly through to Tuakau. Thousands of acres between Ngaruawahia and Mercer were under water. From Lake Waikare in the east to Lake Whangape in the west only occasional knolls of dry land were visible.

CommentSwampy areas from Huntly north to Ohinemuri and Rangiriri were among the worst affected.

Affected LifelineThe main state highway was covered at many points, with one place impassable for several days. Other roads and highways in the area were also closed due to flooding.

ImpactThe Works Department pulled 40 cars from the floods between Mercer and Rangiriri.

ImpactThousands of cattle were marooned and starving in flooded areas.

AreaAbout 25,000 hectares of developed and partly-developed farmland along the banks of the Waikato River, mainly below Huntly, was inundated.

ImpactThe period of flooding varied, but 5000 hectares of first-class dairying land was under water for two or three weeks, some areas being affected for longer.

Physical CharacteristicRiver levels were well below those recorded in 1907.

Peak Water LevelWaikato farmlands were flooded up to 4 ft (1.2 m) deep.

CommentFarmers in the Franklin district could not remember worse flooding in 40 years.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Damage CostDamage to state highways in the district totalled £8,160 ($391,200 2008 dollars).

Damage CostDamage to country roads and bridges totalled £58,500 ($2,805,000 2008 dollars).

FloodingFlooding at Aka Aka
Map Location: -37.291859 174.784866
Comments:

ImpactThe Aka aka area was flooded.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Arapuni
Map Location: -38.069486 175.651148
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicArapuni recorded 0.77 in (2.0 cm) of rain in one hour.

Physical CharacteristicArapuni recorded 2.95 in (7.5 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicArapuni recorded 4.50 in (11.43 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicArapuni recorded 4.98 in (12.6 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Karapiro and Arapuni dams were passing 5000 cusecs (142 cumecs) of water above requirements.

FloodingFlooding at Cambridge
Map Location: -37.886228 175.445175
Comments:

ImpactOn some Cambridge farms the water was as high as the fences.

CommentThe flooding in Cambridge was the worst for 40 years.

FloodingFlooding at Godonton
Map Location: -37.673001 175.299382
Comments:

ImpactThe Orini-Gordonton area was severely flooded on the morning of the 7th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hamilton
Map Location: -37.780816 175.272836
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicRuakura recorded 1.01 in (2.6 cm) of rain in one hour.

Physical CharacteristicHamilton recorded 4.10 in (10.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicHamilton recorded 4.25 in (10.8 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th (The Ministry of Works, 1954).

Physical CharacteristicHamilton Airport recorded 4.5 in (11.4 cm) of rain on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicHamilton recorded 0.74 in (1.9 cm) of rain on the night of the 6th.

Physical CharacteristicHamilton recorded 6.00 in (15.2 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th (Return Period 15 years).

Physical CharacteristicRuakura recorded 6.05 in (15.4 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River rose rapidly at Hamilton, and was 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m) above normal.

ImpactThe Waikato River reached its peak level at Hamilton on the 7th, and it overflowed its banks in many places. The peak soon passed Hamilton and it was lower down the river that the most extensive and protracted flooding occurred.

ImpactMany residential areas were flooded on the 6th, with Frankton, Claudelands and Hamilton East being the worst hit. Houses in Frankton were isolated by flood waters. About 250 homes were surounded by water. Nearly 100 houses in the Killarney Road, Ellis Street and Bandon Street area were completely surrounded. The water only entered a few homes. The flood waters began to recede at dusk but the heavy rain that night brought the water back up to all the houses.

EvacueesOne house was evacuated by dinghy, with water lying an inch deep over the floors.

ImpactRuakura paddocks were well under water and a motor camp on Peachgrove Road was flooded..

Affected LifelineThere were slight delays to the railways.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Evacuees60 girls were evacuated from the Hamilton High School hostel in River Road on the afternoon of the 5th due to a slip on the bank of the Waikato River.

FloodingFlooding at Hauraki Plains
Map Location: -37.337475 175.454918
Comments:

CommentThere was a major flood over the Hauraki Plains.

FloodingFlooding at Huntly
Map Location: -37.559936 175.162622
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River rose 7-8 ft (2.1-2.4 m) above normal at Huntly.

ImpactAt Huntly, low-lying areas were flooded. Many houses and several factories were surrounded by flood waters. Some houses on the west side of the highway south were completely were surrounded by water. A block of public works huts was awash and a partially-built school had water up to its doorstep..

ImpactOn the west bank of the Waikato River between Huntly and Rangiriri, the low stop banks were overtopped, causing flooding in low areas between the river and Lakes Rotongaro and Whangape.

AreaThere was 12,000 acres (48.56 km^2) of sheet flooding.

Physical CharacteristicCountry roads were flooded to depths of 3 ft (90 cm).

ImpactSome homes were vacated.

Peak River FlowThe Waikato River at Huntly had a peak discharge of 43,380 cusecs (1228 cumecs) on the 8th (gauged near the peak).

Affected LifelineThe railway bridge at Huntly was damaged. The rail link was still intact but had a narrow causeway through floodwaters in some places.

Affected LifelineThe Huntly west road was closed. The highway from Huntly to Pukemiro and Rotowaro was blocked.

ImpactCream collection services were down.

ImpactCattle were being mustered by boat, and swum to and from milking.

Property DamageHeavy fence damage was caused by floating logs and debris.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Karapiro
Map Location: -37.918771 175.541899
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicKarapiro recorded 3.91 in (9.9 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Karapiro and Arapuni dams were passing 5000 cusecs (142 cumecs) of water above requirements.

FloodingFlooding at Lake Taupo
Map Location: -38.783172 176.021652
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLake Taupo rose over an inch (2.5 cm) above its maximum control level.

FloodingFlooding at Lake Waikare
Map Location: -37.435468 175.189289
Comments:

CommentLarge quantities of water entered Lake Waikare.

FloodingFlooding at Mangatangi Stream
Map Location: -37.224378 175.174804
Comments:

Affected LifelineMangatangi Stream flowed across the Paeroa-Pokeno state highway, blocking the road.

Physical CharacteristicFlood waters covered the road to a depth of 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m).

FloodingFlooding at Mangatawhiri
Map Location: -37.218243 175.119949
Comments:

Affected LifelineMangatawhiri Stream flooded the Paeroa-Pokeno highway, blocking the road.

Physical CharacteristicThe road was covered to a depth of 3-4 ft (90 cm-1.2 m).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Maraetai
Map Location: -38.356113 175.746764
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMaraetai recorded 1.80in (4.6 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Maramarua
Map Location: -37.254046 175.223651
Comments:

Property DamageAt Maramarua, a house was washed away, transported 2 miles (3.2 km) and badly damaged.

Stock Damage1000 sheep were lost in the Maramarua-Mangatangi area.

FloodingFlooding at Mercer
Map Location: -37.280396 175.051333
Comments:

ImpactAt Rangiriri and Mercer, all low-lying and swampy areas were inundated.

Affected LifelineFlooding occurred at the Mercer station and the railways were partially closed there.

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River at Mercer was 2.50 ft (76 cm) below the peak of the 1907 flood.

Peak River FlowThe Waikato River at Mercer had a peak discharge of 49,000 cusecs (1388 cumecs), with a catchment area of 5290 square miles (13,701 km^2).

Peak River LevelThe Waikato River at Mercer reached a height of 113.7 ft (34.66 m).

EvacueesAt Mercer, houses on the road along the river were vacated for several days. Nine houses along Mercer Bank were evacuated.

Physical CharacteristicThere was 6 ft (1.8 m) of water lying in the Roose Shipping Company's workshop.

CommentMercer was the worst affected area.

CommentThe maximum flood flow at Mercer, reached on the 13th, was approximately two-thirds of that in the 1907 flood.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Morrinsville
Map Location: -37.653686 175.524375
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMorrinsville recorded 3.46 in (8.79 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicMorrinsville recorded 3.64 in (9.26 cm) of rain in 4 days.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Ngaruawahia
Map Location: -37.668325 175.128
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNgaruawahia recorded 3.69 in (9.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicNgaruawahia recorded 5.72 in (14.5 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River rose 10 ft (3.0 m) above normal at Ngaruawahia.

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River at Ngaruawahia was 4.30 ft (1.31 m) below the peak of the 1907 flood.

Peak River FlowThe Waipa River at the Ngaruawahia Bridge had a peak discharge of over 20,000 cusecs (566 cumecs) on the 7th.

Peak River LevelThe Waipa River at the Ngaruawahia Bridge reached a height of 16.75 ft (5.11 m) on the 7th.

FloodingFlooding at Orini
Map Location: -37.558269 175.311466
Comments:

ImpactAt Orini, many acres of farmland were under water.

Crop DamageCrops were ruined.

Stock DamageThere were stock losses.

FloodingFlooding at Otorohanga
Map Location: -38.174188 175.209784
Comments:

ImpactThe Otorohanga township was flooded by the Waipa River.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Pokeno
Map Location: -37.245504 175.0131
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPokeno recorded 4.00 in (10.2 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Rangiriri
Map Location: -37.43113 175.134897
Comments:

Affected LifelineState Highway 1 south of Te Onetea Stream (at Rangiriri) was blocked by flood waters.

ImpactAt Rangiriri and Mercer, all low-lying and swampy areas were inundated.

Physical CharacteristicThe Waikato River at Rangiriri was 2.95 ft (90 cm) below the peak of the 1907 flood.

Stock DamageThere were an estimated 1000 stock losses in Rangiriri.

FloodingFlooding at Taupiri
Map Location: -37.617086 175.189891
Comments:

ImpactThe dairy factory at Taupiri was not working after the pumping machinery went under water.

DamageMany pastures were covered in 6 in (15 cm) of silt. Farmers said it may take 12 months before the land was in full production.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Taupo
Map Location: -38.69531 176.070758
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 1.09 in (2.8 cm) of rain in one hour.

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 2.01 in (5.1 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 1.52 in (3.9 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th (Ministry of Works, 1954).

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 5.06 in (12.85 cm) of rain in three days.

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 5.48 in (13.9 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th (Return Period 15 years).

Physical CharacteristicTaupo recorded 89 mm (8.9 cm) of rain in 18 hours (Return Period 15 years).

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Awamutu
Map Location: -38.009384 175.334988
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Awamutu recorded 3.80 in (9.7 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Te Kohanga
Map Location: -37.314673 174.848649
Comments:

ImpactSwampy areas at Tuakau, and low-lying land at Onepoto and Te Kohanga were flooded, with 3000 acres (12.14 km^2) of developed land inundated.

FloodingFlooding at Te Kowhai
Map Location: -37.737182 175.156211
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Te Kowhai to Whatawhata, and the Te Kowhai to Ngaruawahia roads were under some feet of water in several places.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Kuiti
Map Location: -38.3277 175.172348
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Kuiti recorded 2.91 in (7.4 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tongariro
Map Location: -39.02942 175.635411
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTongariro recorded 1.96 in (5.0 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 4th.

FloodingFlooding at Tuakau
Map Location: -37.257675 174.938464
Comments:

ImpactSwampy areas at Tuakau, Onepoto and Te Kohanga were flooded, with 3000 acres (12.14 km^2) of developed land inundated.

Peak River FlowThe Waikato River at Tuakau Bridge had a peak discharge of 42,220 cusecs (1196 cumecs) on the 9th.

Peak River LevelThe Waikato River at Tuakau Bridge reached a flood height of 14.00 ft (4.27 m) on the 9th.

FloodingFlooding at Waipa River
Map Location: -38.251404 175.335123
Comments:

ImpactThe Waipa River flooded low-lying land between Te Kuiti and Otorohanga and the basin of the main Waipa River.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wairakei
Map Location: -38.626082 176.080353
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWairakei recorded 1.16 in (2.9 cm) of rain in one hour.

FloodingFlooding at Whangamarino
Map Location: -37.347207 175.116526
Comments:

AreaWhangamarino swamp had 25,000 acres (101.17 km^2) flooded.

Bay of Plenty

FloodingFlooding at Bay of Plenty
Comments:

CommentThe Whakatane and Rangitaiki Rivers were in high flood.

Damage CostState highways in the district suffered damage to the extent of £4,290 ($205,700 2008 dollars).

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Tauranga-Te Puke highway was blocked by major slips. The Rotorua-Tauranga road was also blocked by slips and slips occurred on the Tauranga-Katikati highway.

Affected LifelineThe Kaimai main road was blocked by a large slip.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Waitao and Rotorua direct roads were blocked.

FloodingFlooding at Edgecumbe
Map Location: -37.978901 176.814184
Comments:

Stock DamageStock losses at Awakeri and Edgecumbe were slight.

ImpactAt Awakeri and Edgecumbe, many hundreds of acres were turned into lakes.

FloodingFlooding at Lake Rotoiti
Map Location: -38.037247 176.427951
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicLake Rotoiti rose 2 ft (60 cm).

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Lower Kaimai
Map Location: -37.800676 176.03073
Comments:

Affected LifelineBelk Road was blocked at the Kerikeri road bridge.

FloodingFlooding at Ngongotaha
Map Location: -38.076778 176.218274
Comments:

CommentNgongotaha Stream broke its banks.

LandslideLandslide at Omokoroa
Map Location: -37.664863 176.035125
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a slip on the East Coast main trunk line at Omokoroa, which blocked the road.

FloodingFlooding at Oropi
Map Location: -37.838566 176.160825
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWater 4 ft (1.2 m) deep closed Oropi Road.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Rotorua
Map Location: -38.140434 176.262282
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain fell across most of the Rotorua district.

Physical CharacteristicRotorua recorded 4.00 in (10.2 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThere was extensive flooding in some areas. About 20 houses in the Holland Street area were surrounded.

Peak Water LevelRotorua houses were invaded with water up to 1 ft (30 cm) deep.

DamageSerious damage occurred.

Property DamagePersonal damage was severe.

Physical CharacteristicThe Rotorua lakes reached their highest levels for many years.

CommentUtahina Stream broke its banks.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Tauranga
Map Location: -37.679532 176.173022
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTauranga Aerodome recorded 3.38 in (8.6 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 5th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineMt Maunganui airport was flooded.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineMany minor slips blocked several roads in Tauranga County.

FloodingFlooding at Te Puke
Map Location: -37.779011 176.33425
Comments:

AreaIn the Te Puke area, 14,000 acres (56.66 km^2) of farmland were under water.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waiotapu
Map Location: -38.340141 176.355126
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiotapu recorded 4.51 in (11.46 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicWaiotapu recorded 5.47 in (13.9 cm) of rain in the four days from the 3rd to the 6th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Whakarewarewa
Map Location: -38.162602 176.251087
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWhakarewarewa recorded 5.19 in (13.18 cm) of rain in 3 days.

Physical CharacteristicWhakarewarewa recorded 6.41 in (16.28 cm) of rain in 4 days.

FloodingFlooding at Whakatane
Map Location: -37.967356 176.992417
Comments:

ImpactLarge areas of farmland were inundated around Whakatane.

Marlborough

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Woodbourne
Map Location: -41.509671 173.865652
Comments:

Affected LifelineWoodbourne arifield was closed on the 6th after steady rain on the 5th saturated the ground. It was reopened to passenger traffic on the morning of the 7th.

Canterbury

LandslideLandslide at Rakautara
Map Location: -42.26513 173.800591
Comments:

Affected LifelineA large slip at Rakautara blocked the main south highway between Blenheim and Christchurch early on the morning of the 7th.

References

Cowie, C.A.; Attwood, A.K. (1957). Floods in New Zealand 1920-1953. The Soil Conservation Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand.
Finkelstein, J. (1954). The Waikato Flood of July 1953. New Zealand Meteorological Service Technical Note No. 108.
Hydrology Annual No.3 1955. Soil Conservation and River Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand.
Major weather events in New Zealand, Floods and High Rainfall, Floods to 31st July 2006.
Ministry of Works. (1954). Waikato River Floods of July 1953 and July 1952.
New Zealand Meteorological Service. (2008). Meteorology of Extreme Rainfalls in New Zealand (Mark Pascoe, Ed.).
Owen, R.E. (1957). Rainfall Observations for 1953. New Zealand Meteorological Service.
Shearer, A.R. (1969). Hydrology Annual, No.14 1966. Published by the Ministry of Works, The Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand.
Headline: Heavy Rain Causes Slips On County Roads.
The Bay Of Plenty Times, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Widespread damage in province.
The Bay of Plenty Times, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Wide flood damage, Night-long deluge over Auckland area.
The New Zealand Herald, 5 July 1953.
Headline: Wide flood damage: Roads, farms and stock suffer severely.
The New Zealand Herald, 5 July 1953.
Headline: Weather.
The Northern Advocate, 3 July 1953.
Headline: Weather.
The Northern Advocate, 4 July 1953.
Headline: Heavy stock losses follow sudden flooding at week-end: Many roads affected, but mostly clear today.
The Northern Advocate, 6 July 1953.
Headline: New house wrecked by great slip.
The Northern Advocate, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Weather.
The Northern Advocate, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Young woman fights to save home from flood.
The Northern Advocate, 6 July 1953.
Headline: Large slip on Kiripaka Road.
The Northern Advocate, 7 July 1953.
Headline: River spills out in miles' wide flood.
The Northern Advocate, 7 July 1953.
Headline: Waikato bursts its banks, inundates vast farm area.
The Northern Advocate, 7 July 1953.
Headline: House carried town miles by floods.
The Waikato Times 9 July 1953.
Headline: Continued rainfall unwelcome in areas affected by flood.
The Waikato Times, 10 July 1953.
Headline: Depeening waters on main highway: Flood spreads over 30 miles.
The Waikato Times, 11 July 1953.
Headline: Clevedon worst hit: Losses of stock.
The Waikato Times, 7 July 1953.
Headline: Flood damage widespread.
The Waikato Times, 7 July 1953.
Headline: Worst of floods down stream: Main North Road blocked.
The Waikato Times, 8 July 1953.