Planned spillway to tackle Otiria-Moerewa flood risk

31 Mar 2021, 12:00 PM

Work on a proposed $5 million spillway project to divert flooding away from Otiria and Moerewa could be underway within months.

Northland Regional Council (NRC) Deputy Chair Justin Blaikie says central government has agreed to meet more than half the cost of the project - $2.89M – through the Provincial Development Unit. The council is currently gauging community support for its share via its current Long Term Plan consultation.

Two men near a digger.Regional council staff member Doug Foster, left, and Asanka Meththa from Haigh Workman checking soil profiles along the route of proposed Otiria flood works recently.Councillor Blaikie, who represents the NRC’s Hokianga-Kaikohe constituency, says as proposed the balance of the funding needed will be split, with $1.5M coming from the council’s region-wide flood infrastructure rate and $630,000 from a new targeted Taumārere rivers management rate.

“Our usual method of funding this work is to cover 30 percent from targeted rates, however, once the central government funding is taken into account, only about 13% of the total cost will need to be funded by the local community through a targeted rate.”

For the average rates bill, it will add about $1.45 annually on the region-wide flood infrastructure rate and an extra $57.50 (including GST) a year for those in the targeted rate area for 12 years.

Meanwhile, Cr Blaikie says another proposed project comes after calls to reduce the flood risk along Old Whangae Road in Kawakawa.

“This would involve building a stopbank to deflect the floodwater away from local businesses.”

Work on the approximately 450-metre-long stopbank would begin in 2024 and cost around $1.5M. For rates, this means about $1 a year extra on the region-wide flood infrastructure rate, and $29.40 (including GST) annually on the targeted rate, from 2024.

“For these proposed works to be effective, Far North District Council would also need to install a stormwater pump to remove stormwater trapped behind the stopbank during a flood.”

Cr Blaikie says doing the work in Otiria-Moerewa and Kawakawa will add about $1.45 extra a year on the region-wide flood infrastructure rate, increasing to $2.45 annually from 2024.

The new Taumārere rivers management rate would add an average of $57.50 (including GST) to each rates bill in the targeted catchment, increasing to $86.90 in 2024.

Meanwhile, Cr Blaikie says work to alleviate a notorious flooding bottleneck at the bottom of Moerewa’s Turntable Hill is well underway and due for completion in April.

The $850,000 project is being 100% funded by Waka Kotahi because of the benefits accrued by keeping the crucial State Highway route open there and involves benching a floodway to reduce flooding to a 1:10-year event.

Work began in earnest late January and all going well, the project will be finished by end of next month.

Information on the proposed Otiria project is available via

The council also held a ‘Have Your Say’ meeting in Otiria on Thursday, 25 March as part of a series of Northland-wide meetings to discuss the flood works and other projects in its new Long Term Plan.

Progress on the Turntable Hill floodworks as of mid-March.

Progress on the Turntable Hill floodworks as of mid-March.