Tangoio Valley Flood, 1963
During Queen's Birthday weekend, 1963, Hawke's Bay experienced exceptionally heavy rain. In 24 hours in the Tangoio catchment area, 16 in. of rain fell, swept in by a strong south-easterly wind. The rivers rose suddenly and by early afternoon on 3 June all communications between Napier and Wairoa and Napier and Taupo ceased. At this time the traffic on these roads was particularly heavy and some hundreds of motorists were weatherbound. The Tangoio Valley was completely isolated and police, Army, and civil defence workers were unable to reach it for nearly two days. Until relief parties returned nothing was known of the fate of the 130 people living there. Although the Tangoio River had risen sufficiently to flood the settlements on the valley floor, the worst damage had occurred when the steep surrounding hillsides slipped bodily into the valley below. No people were killed, but farmers reported heavy losses among livestock.
by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington and Ronald Jones, Journalist and Script Writer, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, Wellington.