Story: Floods

The Rakaia River

An aerial view of a braided river cutting through a green landscape with snowy mountains in the distance.

The Rakaia River, on the Canterbury Plains, is typical of New Zealand’s gravel-bed rivers. Their numerous shallow channels appear easy to ford, but when the river is in flood the flow is swift, and many people have been swept away while trying to cross. Early European settlers referred to drowning in rivers as ‘the New Zealand death’.


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GNS Science
Photograph by Lloyd Homer

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Floods - New Zealand’s number one hazard', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 June 2024)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 1 Feb 2024