Four stranded motorists on their way to a camp ground were ushered through a flooded road by firefighters as heavy rain wreaked havoc in parts of Northland.

Whangarei Harbour at Marsden Pt received the most rain of anywhere in the region, with the Northland Regional Council recording 67mm in 24 hours to 2.02am yesterday. That was followed by Whakapara at Puhipuhi, where 32.5mm fell.

Firefighters from Kawakawa attended to a stranded car on Russell Rd at Punaruku, 33km north of Hikurangi, at 6.25am yesterday.

Kawakawa fire chief Wayne Martin said a car with four people in it was stranded between two areas of flooding. They were on their way to a camp ground on Teal Bay, north of Whangarei.


Firefighters managed to reach the scene from the northern end of Russell Rd.

The stranded motorists followed a Kawakawa fire engine through the flooded road to their destination.

Mr Martin said that about an hour earlier, his crew attended another flood-related callout at Waikare Rd in Karetu in the Far North.

A fallen tree blocked both lanes of the road and chainsaws were used to clear it.

In Ruakaka, firefighters were called to the New Zealand Refinery on Marsden Pt about 2.40am yesterday.

Ruakaka Fire Brigade station officer Jeff D'Ath said water was dripping down from the ceiling of a cafe in the refinery complex after its guttering appeared to have been blocked by debris during heavy rain. The blocked guttering forced water into the ceiling and into the cafe. "There was so much water due to intense rain for a long time. The carpark, which is the size of a football pitch, was also under water and that affected the brakes of our fire engine," he said.

Mr D'Ath said excess water in the cafeteria ceiling would have short-circuited some of the alarms in the building.

Firefighters cleared water from the roof and ceiling and managed to move furniture out of harm's way.

The rain stopped as the fire crew was working in the cafe.

Heavy downpours also caught campers at various sites in Whangarei unawares.

Co-owner of Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park Anne-Marie Abel said some holidaymakers were pretty wet and a couple of gazebos were lost. The park was nearly full when rain struck but Ms Abel said nobody moved away or changed their holiday plan because of the bad weather.