A deluge of rain has created major problems for farmers across Galatea - washing out bridges, destroying winter feeds and leaving them cut off from their stock.

Dairy farmer Andy Isley came out today to inspect the damage to the Whirinaki Bridge on Troutbeck Rd, which was washed away.

"I've lived here my entire life, and the last time it was like this was back in the '60s," he said.

"The last time the river burst its banks was 1964, and that's when they planted the trees along the edge to stop it going again, there wasn't even a bridge here then."

Mr Isley said living in the Galatea valley they expected rain.


"We choose to live here, so we just have to take these things," he said.

"People are pretty well cut off at the moment, we won't be able to do much for a while."

The bridge is a main access route for farmers, and Mr Isley said he crossed the bridge every single day for grazing.

"I've got cattle on the other side that I can't get to," he said.

Mr Isley had his own way of measuring the rainfall, and said the 20L bucket he had left outside was completely full.

Alex Coe was shocked by damage to the bridge.

"I crossed over that just a few hours ago," he said.

A farmer further down the road, Eric Merriman, was attempting to get to his stock.


"I've never seen anything like this before."

Mr Merriman was wading into the knee deep water as it made a river through his paddock.

Eric Merriman wading through the flooding on his farm. Photo/Ben Fraser
Eric Merriman wading through the flooding on his farm. Photo/Ben Fraser

"It's bad, it's flooded all the farmland," he said.

"I want to get in there and see if my stock are alright, but I am just figuring my way around."

He said there had been a few close calls on the roads.

Galatea and Murupara schools were both closed today due to the flooding on roads.

Galatea School acting principal Kelly Bicknell said a decision would be made tomorrow morning as to whether it opens.

Ms Bicknell said the weather hadn't posed a risk to people, but that there was a lot of damage to farms.

"I've heard stories of stock that had to be moved urgently to higher ground, and sometimes even that wasn't quick enough," she said.

"A shortage in feed was already a worry for farmers this winter, and a lot of feed has been ruined, one of our teachers here has seen quite a lot of damage."

Meanwhile slips along State Highway 38 have left Minginui Village, south of Murupara, isolated.

Garry Aldridge, owner of Whirinaki Forest Holidays, said the road was completely washed out in several places.

"Surveys are being done now to see if we can use the forestry roads to Murupara," he said.

Although there have been reports of damage to Mangawiri Bridge, Mr Aldridge couldn't confirm these to be true.

"No one has been able to get past the slips to actually get there," he said.

The Department of Conservation released a warning earlier this afternoon that access to Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Conservation Park had been lost.

"At the moment we've still got four trampers out in the bush," he said.

"I'm hoping Civil Defence can get them out and back home for dinner."