October 3, 2023

Rural Wairarapa community of Tinui comes together after devastation

Floodwaters from a nearby river submerged much of Tinui Village, east of Masterton. Now the community is in force to give each other a hand.

A rural community in Wairarapa is also struggling in the aftermath of the cyclone which has left a mighty mess behind.

Floodwaters from a nearby river submerged much of Tinui, east of Masterton, on Tuesday.

Emotions are still raw for Samantha Robertson and her dad John after floodwaters swept through their Tinui home.

“You feel sad, angry, just couldn’t do anything,” Samantha said.

Water over a metre high gushed through their home from a nearby river and their family have now been left with a muddy, smelly, mess. They may even have to leave their home.

“It would be hard to leave. I love it here, but I want to be on higher ground,” John said.

In the Tinui township it’s sadly a similar story, with the community out in force today giving each other a hand.

“I saw an old lady waving her hand through the window,” said one Tinui helper.

He helped to save a woman who was trapped inside a home by floodwaters, using a dinghy to rescue her from a window.

“We got her back and all was good,” he said.

With locals calling him a hero, he reckons it was “just another day in Tinui”.

Meanwhile, the village’s school has had to relocate to another building due to copious amounts of silt and debris inside the classrooms.

“It was devastating. We had a metre of water in our school, it swept through the school,” principal Simon Couling said, describing it as “a major mess”.

And teachers are trying desperately to salvage what they can.

“The biggest problem for me is all the resources from teachers of many years are just gone, the love and aroha,” said teacher Chris Webb.

But despite all the heartache, the town remains remarkably resilient. One lady who runs a nearby BnB has been taking in those who’ve been displaced because of the flood.

“I’ll keep doing it for as long as I can,” she said.

A town coming together like one big whanau, after a devastating event. 

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