Story: Floods

The Rakaia River

The Rakaia River

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 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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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 10 December 2023)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 1 Aug 2017