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For the first time since they were installed in 2018, the Paeroa flood gates have been closed. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

Paeroa wakes to flooding

For the first time since they were  installed in 2018, the Criterion Bridge floodgates in Paeroa have been closed. 

It follows the Hauraki District Council enacting a State of Emergency ahead of the brunt of Cyclone Gabrielle, which caused slips, surface flooding, and road closures across the district in the early hours of Tuesday.

Among the businesses with flood waters lapping at their front entrances, are: Franklin Vets Paeroa, BuildLink Paeroa, Tony Richards Toyota, and Paeroa Precast Concrete. 

The fields of the Paeroa Old Boys Rugby Football & Sports Club are also completely under water. 

A long-time resident of Station Rd, whose property backs onto the rugby fields, told The Profile concern started to mount in the late-afternoon on Monday.

“I was concerned at 4 o’clock when I saw how much water was in that park yesterday afternoon,” he said. “I’ve lived in that house for over 20 years and I thought if there was already that much water, and they were predicting all that rain, that it was going to be quite bad.” 

The man, who wished not to be named, said his house was alright, but the water had gone into the back of his garage. 

He lived in Paeroa during the town’s floods of 1981, and recalled going “down the main street in a row boat”. He said Waikato Regional and Hauraki District councils had “done a really good job” closing the floodgates and mitigating any further damage to the town. 

The floodgates remain closed on Tuesday morning. If you have to travel through this area, a detour is in place via Awaiti Road. The Karangahake Gorge is also closed.