NZ Historic Weather Events Catalog

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ModerateMay 1914 North Island Flooding ( 1914-05-15 )

38 years

Heavy rain caused flooding in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay. Flooding and landslips closed road and railway lines. A man was killed in Ngatapa after his tent was buried by a landslide.

North Island

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at North Island
Duration:   9  days - The storm lasted from the 15th to the 23rd May 1914.
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain hit the east coast of the North Island on the 15th to the 20th causing flooding in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.

CommentA southerly gale of an exceptionally severe nature was experienced on both the east and west coasts of the North Island for eight days to the 23nd of May. The gale was most severe on the East Cape, and extending as far south as Napier. Shipping was disorganised on both coasts.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice
Comments:

CommentCold temperatures resulted in snow falls in central North Island, Wellington and Dunedin on the 21st.

Auckland

HailHail at Auckland City
Map Location: -36.852397 174.762337
Comments:

CommentOn the 21st a fierce hailstorm burst over the city and suburbs.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Manukau Harbour
Map Location: -37.054357 174.730384
Comments:

Affected LifelineA tremendous sea was breaking over the Manukau bar and as a consequence all shipping was delayed on the 21st and 22nd.

Waikato

HailHail at Te Aroha
Map Location: -37.536498 175.715457
Comments:

CommentA heavy hailstorm was experienced in Te Aroha on the 21st.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice
Comments:

CommentOn the morning of the 22nd the highest peaks of the Te Aroha mountain were snow capped.

Gisborne

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Gisborne
Comments:

CommentA strong southerly wind was accompanied by rain that was exceptionally heavy, especially in the back country, on the 17th May 1914.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

DamageThere was considerable damage as a result of the gale. Gates were broken and trees and fences were flattened. Bluegum trees were uprooted.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe eastern seaboard rivers were flooded. Te Arai, Waimata and Ngatapa rivers were in high flood.

Crop DamageMaize crops were levelled by the flood.

ImpactHotels at Waerengaahika, Makaraka, Matawhero, the Bridge and Patutahi proved to be havens of refuge and were overflowing with people.

ImpactThere was a vast sheet of water from Waerengaahika to Awapuni Lagoon. A large sheet of water extended from Makaraka right to Waerengaahike and down across the Willows, together with a further extensive stretch of water covering the Patutahi and a portion of the Te Arai flats.

Stock DamageValuable stock was lost by a number of farmers in the flooded districts. The heaviest item being 200 sheep from a property in Ormond.

Affected LifelineThe railway line suffered considerably s a result of the flood. The damage commenced where the railway crosses the Waikanae Creek. At this bridge a very bad washout occurred and the line was hanging clear of the ballast. At various places, from this bridge on to Waihirere station, washouts took place damaging the line for half a mile. At the Ormond dip there was much damage, due to washouts, caused. From Te Karaka tunnel there was 12 in of silt along the railway for a mile. Between Otoko and Mahaki there was a very big slip and the line was displaced for 3.5 chains. A series of slips occurred on the railway line between Waikohu and Otoko.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

CommentA tremendous sea was running off the coast.

DamageA small steamer 'Koutunui' which left Gisborne on the 20th for Waikokopu rain into heavy weather. Several seas came on board and damaged one side of the steamer. The bulwarks were broken, the big surfboat and two of the doors of the deckhouse were damaged.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Gisborne City
Map Location: -38.656661 178.017356
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicGisborne recorded 2.3 in (5.84 cm) of rain on the 18th.

Physical CharacteristicGisborne recorded 8.03 in (20.40 cm) of rain from the 16th to the 20th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe flood undermined the approach to Peel Street bridge.

ImpactVictoria township was cut off from town.

Affected LifelineStanley Road bridge was completely underwater.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Affected LifelineRailway line suffered considerable damage. The railway line was still suspended on the 20th, many slips having occurred along the line. There was a washout along the railway line at Stanley Road. The railway bridge leading to the wharf was damaged.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hangaroa
Map Location: -38.683811 177.617635
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHangaroa recorded 7.97 in (20.24 cm) of rain in three days from the 16th to the 18th.

FloodingFlooding at Makauri
Map Location: -38.62495 177.958179
Comments:

ImpactWaipaoa River overflowed at Tietjen's bend in two places. One stream of this flowed through Makauri.

Affected LifelineThere was water over the railway line at Makauri.

CommentAt 2.15pm on the 18th the water level was equal to that of 1906 flood and was still rising. In the lower reaches of the river the peak flood level was still 2 ft (0.61 m) below the flood of 1910.

ImpactMakauri residents needed to be rescued from the second storey of a boarding house.

ImpactHeavy deposits of silt were laid at Makauri, generally on the flats.

FloodingFlooding at Makaraka
Map Location: -38.649333 177.95759
Comments:

Affected LifelineWater was flowing over the main road of Makaraka.

ImpactHuge lake was banked up behind the Makaraka hotel. On the night of the 19th the flood reached within a few yards of the Makaraka Hotel where a number of families had taken refuge.

ImpactThe Poverty Bay Turf Club Racecourse was underwater.

CommentThe flood was within 3 ft (0.91 m) of the 1906 flood level, and within 4 ft (1.22 m) of the 1912 flood level.

ImpactThe flood left a considerable amount of silt in the Kia Ora dairy factory.

FloodingFlooding at Matawhero
Map Location: -38.658048 177.948998
Comments:

ImpactWaipaoa River overflowed its banks just below Matawhero and the Willows settlement was inundated.

ImpactThere was water all around the hotel at Matawhero.

Stock Damage63 stud Romney ewes were drowned in a paddock in Matawhero.

LandslideLandslide at Ngatapa
Map Location: -38.587511 177.788321
Comments:

Affected LifelineHeavy slips occurred on the railway works at Ngatapa.

CasualtiesA slip covered a tent occupied by contractor, whose dead body was recovered from the debris.

FloodingFlooding at Ormond
Map Location: -38.559177 177.924843
Comments:

ImpactOrmond was completely cut off.

FloodingFlooding at Patutahi
Map Location: -38.624917 177.890615
Comments:

ImpactThe township of Patutahi was a sea of water. The flats were also flooded.

CommentLavenham Creek was bank high.

EvacueesMany of the settlers along the river bank were evacuated.

FloodingFlooding at Poverty Bay
Map Location: -38.715042 177.981783
Comments:

ImpactWater entered many houses on Poverty Bay flats on the night of the 19th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Puha
Map Location: -38.458563 177.830076
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPuha received 9.62 in (24.4 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a big slip across the railway line near MacDonalds at Puha.

FloodingFlooding at Ruatoria
Map Location: -37.890508 178.310264
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe road between Ruatoria and Tuparoa was almost impassable.

Affected LifelineThe approaches of the Waiapu Bridge were washed away leaving the bridge badly damaged.

FloodingFlooding at Taruheru
Map Location: -38.643087 177.98152
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere was 3 ft (0.91 m) of water flowing over the wharf at Nelson's works at Taruheru.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Araroa
Map Location: -37.633021 178.355369
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Araroa recorded 6.25 in (15.88 cm) of rain between 9am on the 17th to 9am on the 18th.

Physical CharacteristicTe Araroa recorded 3.53 in (8.97 cm) of rain between 9am on the 18th to 9am on the 19th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentAwatere River was running bank high.

Affected LifelineTelegraphic communication with the north and south was cut off until the 21st.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

CommentThere were several slips in Te Araroa.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Karaka
Map Location: -38.467237 177.870255
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Karaka recorded 5.94 in (15.09 cm) of rain on the 17th.

Physical CharacteristicTe Karaka recorded 3.68 in (9.35 cm) of rain on the 18th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicFloodwaters were 4 ft (1.22 m) deep in Te Karaka tunnel.

Physical CharacteristicThe maximum height of Waipaoa River at Te Karaka was almost equal to the 1910 level and was within 2 ft (0.61 m) of the Rangatira Bridge.

ImpactThere was 2 ft (0.61 m) of silt left in the Te Karaka Tunnel at the Puha end.

ImpactThe racecourse was underwater.

Affected LifelineA big hole in the railway line 8 ft (2.44 m) deep and 40 ft (12.19 m) wide was scoured out.

FloodingFlooding at The Willows homestead
Map Location: -38.507457 177.889671
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Waipaoa River broke through in two or three places and in some instances was running 2-3 ft (0.61-0.91 m) over the road.

FloodingFlooding at Waerengaahika
Map Location: -38.601149 177.92432
Comments:

ImpactThe lagoon at Waerengaahika flooded.

ImpactWater came right round the hotel and the store.

ImpactFloodwater from Waerengaahika poured down into the Taruheru River.

FloodingFlooding at Waipaoa River
Map Location: -38.266881 177.311324
Comments:

Peak River LevelWaipaoa River rose 4 ft (1.22 m) in one and a half hours. The river continued to rise up to 16 ft (4.88 m).

ImpactThe flood waters of Waipaoa River gradually spread over the Poverty Bay flats. A sea of water extended from King's Road to Waerengaahika and across country to Pouparae.

EvacueesA number of residents, who lived in the line of the flood, removed from their homes early on the morning of the 19th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Whatatutu
Map Location: -38.383396 177.836989
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWhatatutu recorded 7.5 in (19.05 cm) of rain on the 18th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaipaoa River rose 15 ft (4.57 m) at Whatatutu.

Peak River LevelWaipaoa, Mangatu, Waingaromia rivers above Whatatutu were all in heavy flood and their combined waters caused the Waipaoa River to rise 20 ft (6.1 m).

ImpactThe low-lying portion of the town was underwater.

Hawke's Bay

FloodingFlooding at Hawke's Bay
Comments:

ImpactMuch water was lying on the low country and all rivers were swollen.

CommentRiver levels began to fall on the 20th.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were many slips on the country roads.

FloodingFlooding at Heringa Falls
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOn the 20th there was 10 ft (3.05 m) of water over the submerged bridge spanning the Heringa Falls.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Mohaka
Map Location: -39.114358 177.197486
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMohaka recorded 18.01 in (45.75 cm) of rain in three days from the 16th to the 18th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactWater was up to the top of the piles of the Mohaka Bridge, and was invading the post office on the bank.

Affected LifelineTelephonic and telegraphic communication with the north was interrupted, and that to the south was partly so.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineAbout 5 chains (100 m) of Mohaka Hill Road slipped away, completely blocking traffic.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Morere
Map Location: -38.979161 177.789688
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMorere recorded 9.68 in (24.59 cm) of rain in three days from the 16th to the 18th.

DamageIn the Morere district little or no damage was done.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Napier
Map Location: -39.502426 176.892804
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNapier recorded 4.5 in (11.43 cm) of rain in 40 hours on the 17th and 18th.

FloodingFlooding at Nuhaka
Map Location: -39.044019 177.731599
Comments:

DamageNo damage was done at Nuhaka. The Nuhaka River had a good mouth and the water did not rise higher than within 6 ft (18 m) of the main bridge.

LandslideLandslide at Ruakapuri
Comments:

ImpactMany bad slips were reported from Ruakapuri.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Kiwi Stream
Map Location: -39.08178 177.21866
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Kiwi recorded 11.85 in (30.10 cm) of rain from the night of the 16th up to the 19th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

EvacueesOne family in the Te Kiwi Valley had to seek shelter elsewhere.

FloodingFlooding at Waiau River
Map Location: -38.96077 177.36181
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiau River rose 20 ft (6.10 m).

FloodingFlooding at Waihua
Map Location: -39.081573 177.283201
Comments:

EvacueesA family at Waihua had to leave their station when there was 3 ft (0.91 m) of water in the house.

Physical CharacteristicThere was 2 ft (0.61 m) of water on the Waihua flats on the morning of the 17th.

FloodingFlooding at Waihua River
Map Location: -39.072911 177.278309
Comments:

Peak River LevelWaihua River rose 60 ft (18.3 m).

Damage CostA bridge, which cost £5000 ($704,100 2010 dollars), was swept away by the river.

Affected LifelineThe Huramura traffic bridge, three miles from the town, was also washed away.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waikaremoana
Map Location: -38.756549 177.154762
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaikaremoana recorded 21.25 in (53.98 cm) of rain from the night of the 16th up to the 19th.

Physical CharacteristicWaikaremoana recorded 29.63 in (75.26 cm) of rain from the night of the 17th up to the 20th.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wairoa
Map Location: -39.041861 177.423248
Comments:

CommentAt 5pm on the 16th a heavy downpour of rain, accompanied by a strong south-easterly gale, broke over the Wairoa district, quickly flooding the streets of the borough. The rain soon spread over the greater part of the country, especially in the high lands in the direction of Lake Waikaremoana.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWairoa recorded 10.86 in (27.58 cm) of rain in three days from the 16th to the 18th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe morning of the 17th found every creek and water course flooded.

ImpactThe wharves and the low-lying land on both sides of the Wairoa River were submerged.

ImpactAwatere Stream overflowed its banks, and the water poured over the flats, reaching the river both above and below the Wairoa Bridge.

ImpactLarge quantities of driftwood came down the Wairoa River and were lodged all along Kopu Road, from Grey Street to the heads. Between Waiparapara and the Harbour Board sheds the driftwood was packed so tightly over an area of 30 acres that it appeared to be on dry land, while the torrent raged at the end of the pack.

ImpactThe drains leading to the river were all backed up by the flood, and all houses bordering on Lahore Street were surrounded until the river dropped.

ImpactMost of the suburban areas were underwater.

CommentThe district experienced the worst flood that had taken place in the memory of the oldest inhabitant.

DamageSeveral small buildings were washed away.

Stock DamageStock losses were heavy. One farmer lost 400 hoggets.

Damage100 ft (30.5 m) of the harbour works were damaged after a punt, loaded with a crane, broke away and crashed into the staging. The contractor, besides losing the punt and crane, lost a tug and another punt, which also broke away.

Damage CostThe total estimated in the county by flood damage is over £90,000 ($12,673,000 2010 dollars).

FloodingFlooding at Wairoa River
Map Location: -39.00802 177.39151
Comments:

CommentThere was a large flood in the Wairoa River from the 15th May 1914.

CommentThe storm was slow-moving and travelled from the south-east in the opposite direction to the flow of the river, prolonging the flood. The catchment was already well soaked by rain in the previous week.

CommentThe river reached a peak on the night of the 17th and the second peak was reached on the evening of the 18th, the flow gradually fell away on the 19th.

Peak DischargeWhen the river was at its highest it was estimated to be discharging 15,000,000 million cubic feet per minute (7079 cumecs).

Peak River FlowThe velocity of the river at the works was from 25-30 ft per second (27-33 km/hr). On the Wairoa township front the velocity was 15 ft per second (16.5 km/hr).

ImpactIt was estimated that 40,000,000 tons of silt was carried out to the sea in suspension.

CommentThere had been higher floods in the river but not since 1876 had such a volume of water gone down the Wairoa River.

ImpactAt 7pm on the 19th the river covered all the wharves and the water was within 10 ft (3.05 m) of the steps leading up to Delhi Street.

DamageThe river broke through one of the papa walls on the 18th. It caused a gap 600 ft (183 m) in length on the crown of the eastern wall, inside the estuary, at a point where the base was 45 ft (14 m) wide.

FloodingFlooding at Whakaki
Map Location: -39.035783 177.589381
Comments:

CommentWhakaki Lakes were higher at the present time than they were during the great flood of 1895.

Affected LifelineThere was a tremendous sea on the lakes, and the round one of the bluffs the road was practically washed away.

Taranaki

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Waverley
Map Location: -39.760037 174.612857
Comments:

DamageThe concrete retaining wall of the Waverley reservior collapsed as a result of the heavy rain on the 15th and 16th. The wall cost £1600 ($225,300 2010 dollars) to construct and the strong overflow caused it to be undermined.

Manawatu-Wanganui

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Waiouru
Map Location: -39.466728 175.685937
Comments:

CommentSnow fell at Waiouru and Ohakune on the 22nd.

Peak Snow DepthThe railway at Waiouru was covered by snow to a depth of 7 in (18 cm) on the 22nd but no interruption to railway traffic occurred.

Wellington

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wellington
Comments:

ImpactRain fell continuously at Takapau for three days, and it was decided to break up the casual military camp there.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Wellington City
Map Location: -41.28855 174.776764
Comments:

ImpactHeavy seas were running in Cook Strait, and the service of the smaller coastal vessels was disorganised.

DamageThe steamer 'Whangape', while travelling from Westport to Wellington, sustain damaged from the heavy seas as it neared Sinclair Head. So severe was the rolling of the sea that four of the ship's cargo derricks were shaken adrift. Two went overboard and the others were so badly damaged as to be worthless. The deck fittings were badly damaged.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice
Comments:

CommentThere were squalls of hail, sleet and snow on the 21st.

Peak Snow DepthThere was 2-3 in (5-7.6 cm) of snow on the ground in different parts of the town.

CommentA thick coating of snow covered the port hills on the 21st.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

CommentA strong south-west gale was blowing in the city on the 21st.

Canterbury

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Kowai Bush
Map Location: -43.29531 171.92122
Comments:

CommentAt midnight on the 14th a strong northwest wind started to blow. It increased in strength on the 15th.

DamageThe military camp for territorials at Kowai was badly damaged. The roof of the cook house was carried away, the canteen was blown down, and in the camp office an oil heater was upset and stationary and departmental records were burned. The supply stores were practically destroyed and all the big marquees were demolished.

Peak Wind SpeedAn officer estimated that the wind was travelling at 80 mph (128.7 km/hr).

CommentHeavy rain commenced to fall after the force of the gale.

Otago

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Dunedin
Map Location: -45.87911 170.502707
Comments:

CommentSnow fell in Dunedin on the night of the 20th. Flagstaff, Mount Cargill and Signal Hill had a coating of snow.

References

Cowie, C.A., Attwood, A.K. (1957) Floods in New Zealand 1920-1953, The Soil Conservation Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand
Hydrology Annual No.3 1955, Soil Consrvation and River Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand.
Headline: Damage at Gisborne.
Thames Star, 19 May (Tuesday) 1914.
Headline: FLOOD AT WAIROA, Large Area Under Water.
Thames Star, 19 May (Tuesday) 1914.
Headline: Damage At Wairoa, Traffic Bridge Gone.
Thames Star, 20 May (Wednesday) 1914.
Headline: FLOODS AT GISBORNE, The Water Subsiding.
Thames Star, 20 May (Wednesday) 1914.
Headline: STORM IN HAWKES BAY, Damage by Flood Water.
Thames Star, 21 May (Thursday) 1914.
Headline: Waipaoa River breaks banks.
The Gisborne Herald, 14 May 1948.
Headline: District Rivers In Flood.
The Gisborne Times, 18 May 1914.
Headline: Big Storm On The Coast.
The Gisborne Times, 19 May 1914.
Headline: Heavy Floods At Wairoa.
The Gisborne Times, 19 May 1914.
Headline: Serious District Floods.
The Gisborne Times, 19 May 1914.
Headline: The Floods Receding.
The Gisborne Times, 20 May 1914.
Headline: PHENOMENAL GALE, Military Camp Demolished.
The New Zealand Herald, 16 May (Saturday) 1914.
Headline: Phenomenal Rainfall, Downfall General.
The New Zealand Herald, 19 May (Tuesday) 1914.
Headline: WIND AND RAIN, Alarm at Wairoa.
The New Zealand Herald, 19 May (Tuesday) 1914.
Headline: FLOODS AT WAIROA, Grave Situation.
The New Zealand Herald, 20 May (Wednesday) 1914.
Headline: GALES AND FLOODS, Position At Gisborne.
The New Zealand Herald, 20 May (Wednesday) 1914.
Headline: GALE AT GISBORNE, Flood Waters Subsiding.
The New Zealand Herald, 21 May (Thursday) 1914.
Headline: RAIN AND FLOODS, East Coast Suffers.
The New Zealand Herald, 21 May (Thursday) 1914.
Headline: SOUTHERLY GALE, Conditions in Auckland.
The New Zealand Herald, 22 May (Friday) 1914.
Headline: WINTRY WEATHER, Snowstorms Reported.
The New Zealand Herald, 22 May (Friday) 1914.
Headline: BLINDING RAIN SQUALL, Rough Wellington Weather.
The New Zealand Herald, 23 May (Saturday) 1914.
Headline: STORMY WEATHER, Coldest Night This Year.
The New Zealand Herald, 23 May (Saturday) 1914.
Headline:Flood Water Subside, Scenes In Poverty Bay.
The New Zealand Herald, 23 May (Saturday) 1914.
Headline:Snow on the Main Trunk.
The New Zealand Herald, 23 May (Saturday) 1914.

ModerateMay 1914 North Island Flooding ( 1914-05-15 )

38 years

Heavy rain caused flooding in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay. Flooding and landslips closed road and railway lines. A man was killed in Ngatapa after his tent was buried by a landslide.

North Island

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at North Island
Duration:   9  days - The storm lasted from the 15th to the 23rd May 1914.
Comments:

CommentHeavy rain hit the east coast of the North Island on the 15th to the 20th causing flooding in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.

CommentA southerly gale of an exceptionally severe nature was experienced on both the east and west coasts of the North Island for eight days to the 23nd of May. The gale was most severe on the East Cape, and extending as far south as Napier. Shipping was disorganised on both coasts.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice
Comments:

CommentCold temperatures resulted in snow falls in central North Island, Wellington and Dunedin on the 21st.

Auckland

HailHail at Auckland City
Map Location: -36.852397 174.762337
Comments:

CommentOn the 21st a fierce hailstorm burst over the city and suburbs.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Manukau Harbour
Map Location: -37.054357 174.730384
Comments:

Affected LifelineA tremendous sea was breaking over the Manukau bar and as a consequence all shipping was delayed on the 21st and 22nd.

Waikato

HailHail at Te Aroha
Map Location: -37.536498 175.715457
Comments:

CommentA heavy hailstorm was experienced in Te Aroha on the 21st.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice
Comments:

CommentOn the morning of the 22nd the highest peaks of the Te Aroha mountain were snow capped.

Gisborne

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Gisborne
Comments:

CommentA strong southerly wind was accompanied by rain that was exceptionally heavy, especially in the back country, on the 17th May 1914.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

DamageThere was considerable damage as a result of the gale. Gates were broken and trees and fences were flattened. Bluegum trees were uprooted.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentThe eastern seaboard rivers were flooded. Te Arai, Waimata and Ngatapa rivers were in high flood.

Crop DamageMaize crops were levelled by the flood.

ImpactHotels at Waerengaahika, Makaraka, Matawhero, the Bridge and Patutahi proved to be havens of refuge and were overflowing with people.

ImpactThere was a vast sheet of water from Waerengaahika to Awapuni Lagoon. A large sheet of water extended from Makaraka right to Waerengaahike and down across the Willows, together with a further extensive stretch of water covering the Patutahi and a portion of the Te Arai flats.

Stock DamageValuable stock was lost by a number of farmers in the flooded districts. The heaviest item being 200 sheep from a property in Ormond.

Affected LifelineThe railway line suffered considerably s a result of the flood. The damage commenced where the railway crosses the Waikanae Creek. At this bridge a very bad washout occurred and the line was hanging clear of the ballast. At various places, from this bridge on to Waihirere station, washouts took place damaging the line for half a mile. At the Ormond dip there was much damage, due to washouts, caused. From Te Karaka tunnel there was 12 in of silt along the railway for a mile. Between Otoko and Mahaki there was a very big slip and the line was displaced for 3.5 chains. A series of slips occurred on the railway line between Waikohu and Otoko.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal
Comments:

CommentA tremendous sea was running off the coast.

DamageA small steamer 'Koutunui' which left Gisborne on the 20th for Waikokopu rain into heavy weather. Several seas came on board and damaged one side of the steamer. The bulwarks were broken, the big surfboat and two of the doors of the deckhouse were damaged.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Gisborne City
Map Location: -38.656661 178.017356
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicGisborne recorded 2.3 in (5.84 cm) of rain on the 18th.

Physical CharacteristicGisborne recorded 8.03 in (20.40 cm) of rain from the 16th to the 20th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe flood undermined the approach to Peel Street bridge.

ImpactVictoria township was cut off from town.

Affected LifelineStanley Road bridge was completely underwater.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard
Comments:

Affected LifelineRailway line suffered considerable damage. The railway line was still suspended on the 20th, many slips having occurred along the line. There was a washout along the railway line at Stanley Road. The railway bridge leading to the wharf was damaged.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Hangaroa
Map Location: -38.683811 177.617635
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicHangaroa recorded 7.97 in (20.24 cm) of rain in three days from the 16th to the 18th.

FloodingFlooding at Makauri
Map Location: -38.62495 177.958179
Comments:

ImpactWaipaoa River overflowed at Tietjen's bend in two places. One stream of this flowed through Makauri.

Affected LifelineThere was water over the railway line at Makauri.

CommentAt 2.15pm on the 18th the water level was equal to that of 1906 flood and was still rising. In the lower reaches of the river the peak flood level was still 2 ft (0.61 m) below the flood of 1910.

ImpactMakauri residents needed to be rescued from the second storey of a boarding house.

ImpactHeavy deposits of silt were laid at Makauri, generally on the flats.

FloodingFlooding at Makaraka
Map Location: -38.649333 177.95759
Comments:

Affected LifelineWater was flowing over the main road of Makaraka.

ImpactHuge lake was banked up behind the Makaraka hotel. On the night of the 19th the flood reached within a few yards of the Makaraka Hotel where a number of families had taken refuge.

ImpactThe Poverty Bay Turf Club Racecourse was underwater.

CommentThe flood was within 3 ft (0.91 m) of the 1906 flood level, and within 4 ft (1.22 m) of the 1912 flood level.

ImpactThe flood left a considerable amount of silt in the Kia Ora dairy factory.

FloodingFlooding at Matawhero
Map Location: -38.658048 177.948998
Comments:

ImpactWaipaoa River overflowed its banks just below Matawhero and the Willows settlement was inundated.

ImpactThere was water all around the hotel at Matawhero.

Stock Damage63 stud Romney ewes were drowned in a paddock in Matawhero.

LandslideLandslide at Ngatapa
Map Location: -38.587511 177.788321
Comments:

Affected LifelineHeavy slips occurred on the railway works at Ngatapa.

CasualtiesA slip covered a tent occupied by contractor, whose dead body was recovered from the debris.

FloodingFlooding at Ormond
Map Location: -38.559177 177.924843
Comments:

ImpactOrmond was completely cut off.

FloodingFlooding at Patutahi
Map Location: -38.624917 177.890615
Comments:

ImpactThe township of Patutahi was a sea of water. The flats were also flooded.

CommentLavenham Creek was bank high.

EvacueesMany of the settlers along the river bank were evacuated.

FloodingFlooding at Poverty Bay
Map Location: -38.715042 177.981783
Comments:

ImpactWater entered many houses on Poverty Bay flats on the night of the 19th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Puha
Map Location: -38.458563 177.830076
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicPuha received 9.62 in (24.4 cm) of rain in 48 hours.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere was a big slip across the railway line near MacDonalds at Puha.

FloodingFlooding at Ruatoria
Map Location: -37.890508 178.310264
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe road between Ruatoria and Tuparoa was almost impassable.

Affected LifelineThe approaches of the Waiapu Bridge were washed away leaving the bridge badly damaged.

FloodingFlooding at Taruheru
Map Location: -38.643087 177.98152
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicThere was 3 ft (0.91 m) of water flowing over the wharf at Nelson's works at Taruheru.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Araroa
Map Location: -37.633021 178.355369
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Araroa recorded 6.25 in (15.88 cm) of rain between 9am on the 17th to 9am on the 18th.

Physical CharacteristicTe Araroa recorded 3.53 in (8.97 cm) of rain between 9am on the 18th to 9am on the 19th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

CommentAwatere River was running bank high.

Affected LifelineTelegraphic communication with the north and south was cut off until the 21st.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

CommentThere were several slips in Te Araroa.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Karaka
Map Location: -38.467237 177.870255
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Karaka recorded 5.94 in (15.09 cm) of rain on the 17th.

Physical CharacteristicTe Karaka recorded 3.68 in (9.35 cm) of rain on the 18th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicFloodwaters were 4 ft (1.22 m) deep in Te Karaka tunnel.

Physical CharacteristicThe maximum height of Waipaoa River at Te Karaka was almost equal to the 1910 level and was within 2 ft (0.61 m) of the Rangatira Bridge.

ImpactThere was 2 ft (0.61 m) of silt left in the Te Karaka Tunnel at the Puha end.

ImpactThe racecourse was underwater.

Affected LifelineA big hole in the railway line 8 ft (2.44 m) deep and 40 ft (12.19 m) wide was scoured out.

FloodingFlooding at The Willows homestead
Map Location: -38.507457 177.889671
Comments:

Affected LifelineThe Waipaoa River broke through in two or three places and in some instances was running 2-3 ft (0.61-0.91 m) over the road.

FloodingFlooding at Waerengaahika
Map Location: -38.601149 177.92432
Comments:

ImpactThe lagoon at Waerengaahika flooded.

ImpactWater came right round the hotel and the store.

ImpactFloodwater from Waerengaahika poured down into the Taruheru River.

FloodingFlooding at Waipaoa River
Map Location: -38.266881 177.311324
Comments:

Peak River LevelWaipaoa River rose 4 ft (1.22 m) in one and a half hours. The river continued to rise up to 16 ft (4.88 m).

ImpactThe flood waters of Waipaoa River gradually spread over the Poverty Bay flats. A sea of water extended from King's Road to Waerengaahika and across country to Pouparae.

EvacueesA number of residents, who lived in the line of the flood, removed from their homes early on the morning of the 19th.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Whatatutu
Map Location: -38.383396 177.836989
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWhatatutu recorded 7.5 in (19.05 cm) of rain on the 18th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaipaoa River rose 15 ft (4.57 m) at Whatatutu.

Peak River LevelWaipaoa, Mangatu, Waingaromia rivers above Whatatutu were all in heavy flood and their combined waters caused the Waipaoa River to rise 20 ft (6.1 m).

ImpactThe low-lying portion of the town was underwater.

Hawke's Bay

FloodingFlooding at Hawke's Bay
Comments:

ImpactMuch water was lying on the low country and all rivers were swollen.

CommentRiver levels began to fall on the 20th.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineThere were many slips on the country roads.

FloodingFlooding at Heringa Falls
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicOn the 20th there was 10 ft (3.05 m) of water over the submerged bridge spanning the Heringa Falls.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Mohaka
Map Location: -39.114358 177.197486
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMohaka recorded 18.01 in (45.75 cm) of rain in three days from the 16th to the 18th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactWater was up to the top of the piles of the Mohaka Bridge, and was invading the post office on the bank.

Affected LifelineTelephonic and telegraphic communication with the north was interrupted, and that to the south was partly so.

LandslideLandslide
Comments:

Affected LifelineAbout 5 chains (100 m) of Mohaka Hill Road slipped away, completely blocking traffic.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Morere
Map Location: -38.979161 177.789688
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicMorere recorded 9.68 in (24.59 cm) of rain in three days from the 16th to the 18th.

DamageIn the Morere district little or no damage was done.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Napier
Map Location: -39.502426 176.892804
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicNapier recorded 4.5 in (11.43 cm) of rain in 40 hours on the 17th and 18th.

FloodingFlooding at Nuhaka
Map Location: -39.044019 177.731599
Comments:

DamageNo damage was done at Nuhaka. The Nuhaka River had a good mouth and the water did not rise higher than within 6 ft (18 m) of the main bridge.

LandslideLandslide at Ruakapuri
Comments:

ImpactMany bad slips were reported from Ruakapuri.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Te Kiwi Stream
Map Location: -39.08178 177.21866
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicTe Kiwi recorded 11.85 in (30.10 cm) of rain from the night of the 16th up to the 19th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

EvacueesOne family in the Te Kiwi Valley had to seek shelter elsewhere.

FloodingFlooding at Waiau River
Map Location: -38.96077 177.36181
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaiau River rose 20 ft (6.10 m).

FloodingFlooding at Waihua
Map Location: -39.081573 177.283201
Comments:

EvacueesA family at Waihua had to leave their station when there was 3 ft (0.91 m) of water in the house.

Physical CharacteristicThere was 2 ft (0.61 m) of water on the Waihua flats on the morning of the 17th.

FloodingFlooding at Waihua River
Map Location: -39.072911 177.278309
Comments:

Peak River LevelWaihua River rose 60 ft (18.3 m).

Damage CostA bridge, which cost £5000 ($704,100 2010 dollars), was swept away by the river.

Affected LifelineThe Huramura traffic bridge, three miles from the town, was also washed away.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Waikaremoana
Map Location: -38.756549 177.154762
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWaikaremoana recorded 21.25 in (53.98 cm) of rain from the night of the 16th up to the 19th.

Physical CharacteristicWaikaremoana recorded 29.63 in (75.26 cm) of rain from the night of the 17th up to the 20th.

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Wairoa
Map Location: -39.041861 177.423248
Comments:

CommentAt 5pm on the 16th a heavy downpour of rain, accompanied by a strong south-easterly gale, broke over the Wairoa district, quickly flooding the streets of the borough. The rain soon spread over the greater part of the country, especially in the high lands in the direction of Lake Waikaremoana.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain
Comments:

Physical CharacteristicWairoa recorded 10.86 in (27.58 cm) of rain in three days from the 16th to the 18th.

FloodingFlooding
Comments:

ImpactThe morning of the 17th found every creek and water course flooded.

ImpactThe wharves and the low-lying land on both sides of the Wairoa River were submerged.

ImpactAwatere Stream overflowed its banks, and the water poured over the flats, reaching the river both above and below the Wairoa Bridge.

ImpactLarge quantities of driftwood came down the Wairoa River and were lodged all along Kopu Road, from Grey Street to the heads. Between Waiparapara and the Harbour Board sheds the driftwood was packed so tightly over an area of 30 acres that it appeared to be on dry land, while the torrent raged at the end of the pack.

ImpactThe drains leading to the river were all backed up by the flood, and all houses bordering on Lahore Street were surrounded until the river dropped.

ImpactMost of the suburban areas were underwater.

CommentThe district experienced the worst flood that had taken place in the memory of the oldest inhabitant.

DamageSeveral small buildings were washed away.

Stock DamageStock losses were heavy. One farmer lost 400 hoggets.

Damage100 ft (30.5 m) of the harbour works were damaged after a punt, loaded with a crane, broke away and crashed into the staging. The contractor, besides losing the punt and crane, lost a tug and another punt, which also broke away.

Damage CostThe total estimated in the county by flood damage is over £90,000 ($12,673,000 2010 dollars).

FloodingFlooding at Wairoa River
Map Location: -39.00802 177.39151
Comments:

CommentThere was a large flood in the Wairoa River from the 15th May 1914.

CommentThe storm was slow-moving and travelled from the south-east in the opposite direction to the flow of the river, prolonging the flood. The catchment was already well soaked by rain in the previous week.

CommentThe river reached a peak on the night of the 17th and the second peak was reached on the evening of the 18th, the flow gradually fell away on the 19th.

Peak DischargeWhen the river was at its highest it was estimated to be discharging 15,000,000 million cubic feet per minute (7079 cumecs).

Peak River FlowThe velocity of the river at the works was from 25-30 ft per second (27-33 km/hr). On the Wairoa township front the velocity was 15 ft per second (16.5 km/hr).

ImpactIt was estimated that 40,000,000 tons of silt was carried out to the sea in suspension.

CommentThere had been higher floods in the river but not since 1876 had such a volume of water gone down the Wairoa River.

ImpactAt 7pm on the 19th the river covered all the wharves and the water was within 10 ft (3.05 m) of the steps leading up to Delhi Street.

DamageThe river broke through one of the papa walls on the 18th. It caused a gap 600 ft (183 m) in length on the crown of the eastern wall, inside the estuary, at a point where the base was 45 ft (14 m) wide.

FloodingFlooding at Whakaki
Map Location: -39.035783 177.589381
Comments:

CommentWhakaki Lakes were higher at the present time than they were during the great flood of 1895.

Affected LifelineThere was a tremendous sea on the lakes, and the round one of the bluffs the road was practically washed away.

Taranaki

Multi HazardMulti Hazard at Waverley
Map Location: -39.760037 174.612857
Comments:

DamageThe concrete retaining wall of the Waverley reservior collapsed as a result of the heavy rain on the 15th and 16th. The wall cost £1600 ($225,300 2010 dollars) to construct and the strong overflow caused it to be undermined.

Manawatu-Wanganui

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Waiouru
Map Location: -39.466728 175.685937
Comments:

CommentSnow fell at Waiouru and Ohakune on the 22nd.

Peak Snow DepthThe railway at Waiouru was covered by snow to a depth of 7 in (18 cm) on the 22nd but no interruption to railway traffic occurred.

Wellington

Heavy RainHeavy Rain at Wellington
Comments:

ImpactRain fell continuously at Takapau for three days, and it was decided to break up the casual military camp there.

Maritime / CoastalMaritime / Coastal at Wellington City
Map Location: -41.28855 174.776764
Comments:

ImpactHeavy seas were running in Cook Strait, and the service of the smaller coastal vessels was disorganised.

DamageThe steamer 'Whangape', while travelling from Westport to Wellington, sustain damaged from the heavy seas as it neared Sinclair Head. So severe was the rolling of the sea that four of the ship's cargo derricks were shaken adrift. Two went overboard and the others were so badly damaged as to be worthless. The deck fittings were badly damaged.

Snow / IceSnow / Ice
Comments:

CommentThere were squalls of hail, sleet and snow on the 21st.

Peak Snow DepthThere was 2-3 in (5-7.6 cm) of snow on the ground in different parts of the town.

CommentA thick coating of snow covered the port hills on the 21st.

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust
Comments:

CommentA strong south-west gale was blowing in the city on the 21st.

Canterbury

High Wind GustsHigh Wind / Gust at Kowai Bush
Map Location: -43.29531 171.92122
Comments:

CommentAt midnight on the 14th a strong northwest wind started to blow. It increased in strength on the 15th.

DamageThe military camp for territorials at Kowai was badly damaged. The roof of the cook house was carried away, the canteen was blown down, and in the camp office an oil heater was upset and stationary and departmental records were burned. The supply stores were practically destroyed and all the big marquees were demolished.

Peak Wind SpeedAn officer estimated that the wind was travelling at 80 mph (128.7 km/hr).

CommentHeavy rain commenced to fall after the force of the gale.

Otago

Snow / IceSnow / Ice at Dunedin
Map Location: -45.87911 170.502707
Comments:

CommentSnow fell in Dunedin on the night of the 20th. Flagstaff, Mount Cargill and Signal Hill had a coating of snow.

References

Cowie, C.A., Attwood, A.K. (1957) Floods in New Zealand 1920-1953, The Soil Conservation Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand
Hydrology Annual No.3 1955, Soil Consrvation and River Control Council, Wellington, New Zealand.
Headline: Damage at Gisborne.
Thames Star, 19 May (Tuesday) 1914.
Headline: FLOOD AT WAIROA, Large Area Under Water.
Thames Star, 19 May (Tuesday) 1914.
Headline: Damage At Wairoa, Traffic Bridge Gone.
Thames Star, 20 May (Wednesday) 1914.
Headline: FLOODS AT GISBORNE, The Water Subsiding.
Thames Star, 20 May (Wednesday) 1914.
Headline: STORM IN HAWKES BAY, Damage by Flood Water.
Thames Star, 21 May (Thursday) 1914.
Headline: Waipaoa River breaks banks.
The Gisborne Herald, 14 May 1948.
Headline: District Rivers In Flood.
The Gisborne Times, 18 May 1914.
Headline: Big Storm On The Coast.
The Gisborne Times, 19 May 1914.
Headline: Heavy Floods At Wairoa.
The Gisborne Times, 19 May 1914.
Headline: Serious District Floods.
The Gisborne Times, 19 May 1914.
Headline: The Floods Receding.
The Gisborne Times, 20 May 1914.
Headline: PHENOMENAL GALE, Military Camp Demolished.
The New Zealand Herald, 16 May (Saturday) 1914.
Headline: Phenomenal Rainfall, Downfall General.
The New Zealand Herald, 19 May (Tuesday) 1914.
Headline: WIND AND RAIN, Alarm at Wairoa.
The New Zealand Herald, 19 May (Tuesday) 1914.
Headline: FLOODS AT WAIROA, Grave Situation.
The New Zealand Herald, 20 May (Wednesday) 1914.
Headline: GALES AND FLOODS, Position At Gisborne.
The New Zealand Herald, 20 May (Wednesday) 1914.
Headline: GALE AT GISBORNE, Flood Waters Subsiding.
The New Zealand Herald, 21 May (Thursday) 1914.
Headline: RAIN AND FLOODS, East Coast Suffers.
The New Zealand Herald, 21 May (Thursday) 1914.
Headline: SOUTHERLY GALE, Conditions in Auckland.
The New Zealand Herald, 22 May (Friday) 1914.
Headline: WINTRY WEATHER, Snowstorms Reported.
The New Zealand Herald, 22 May (Friday) 1914.
Headline: BLINDING RAIN SQUALL, Rough Wellington Weather.
The New Zealand Herald, 23 May (Saturday) 1914.
Headline: STORMY WEATHER, Coldest Night This Year.
The New Zealand Herald, 23 May (Saturday) 1914.
Headline:Flood Water Subside, Scenes In Poverty Bay.
The New Zealand Herald, 23 May (Saturday) 1914.
Headline:Snow on the Main Trunk.
The New Zealand Herald, 23 May (Saturday) 1914.