Cyclone Gabrielle impacts

The severe weather from Cyclone Gabrielle has caused a wide range of impacts that will persist for a long time.

As the waterways, estuaries and ocean are the receiving environments, contamination will still be high and previous messaging remains: 

Do not swim, fish or gather kai from beaches, rivers or streams as they are unsafe at this time.

As floodwaters, silt and debris enter the environment and onto our beaches and riverbanks, people are vulnerable to infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries.

Stay out of the water as there could be:

  • Human and livestock waste
  • Household and industrial hazardous waste (chemical, biological, and radiological).
  • Other contaminants that lead to illness
  • Submerged objects, such as logs, ropes, and other debris


Whilst the water itself poses a risk, so do contaminated objects that have washed ashore. Touching these objects should be avoided and any suspicious containers that could be hazardous needs to be reported to your local council and not touched. Stones, shells, or wood can be contaminated and need to be left alone for the time being. Areas of newly deposited sand or silt may also be contaminated and should be avoided.

Additional information:

  • Raw sewerage is still being discharged into the marine environment. A date has not yet been determined for when wastewater treatment will be resumed.
  • Many sites monitored through the HBRC recreational water quality programme are no longer accessible or safe to sample from due to the impacts from Cyclone Gabrielle.
  • The HBRC recreational water quality programme is currently on hold and monitoring will be resumed when it is suitable to do so.