Volunteers helping to clean up in Edgecumbe will be tackling the worst-affected houses today.

More than 100 people helped yesterday and more are expected today.

Whakatane District Council said about 150 volunteers will be working in the northern and southern areas of the town.

The work is being done by the Ngati Awa Volunteer Army in collaboration with Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Whakatane District Council.


Volunteers are working on flood-damaged properties, assisting residents and contractors in removing the worst-affected belongings and removing silt from public areas.

Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne said they'll be helping remove flood-damaged items from houses where water 1m or 2m deep ran through them.

He said a lot of it will involve taking furniture out of the house and putting it into skip bins.

Bonne said it's quite hard for the owners but they're relieved to see when they have a gang of four or five people there to help them in one property.

He said those who were co-ordinating the cleanup yesterday were all from the red zone where the houses have been condemned.

Vehicle access to Te Whaiti and Ruatahuna was restored on Saturday, and the Minginui-Te Whaiti Rd is also open.

State Highway 2 at Waimana Gorge remains closed due to a large unstable slip, with the council saying it will be at least midweek before the road is reopened.

Galetea Rd at Te Mahoe and Stanley Rd at the Waimana end are also closed due to slips.


Rautahi Marae Civil Defence Centre has closed, with the service transitioning to the Edgecumbe Contact Centre.

Boil-water notices remain in force for the whole district - except for Whakatane town, Ohope, Murupara, Matata and Coastlands.

Tankers of drinking water are at Ruatoki, Taneatua, Waimana, Edgecumbe.

Residents and businesses are being strongly urged not to hose or wash mud and silt into drains and the stormwater system as the post-flood cleanup continues.

Civil Defence controller Paula Chapman said mud and silt in the system may block pipes and cause flooding when further rain comes. Residents are advised to pile mud and silt on the berms outside or near their properties. It will be collected over the next few days.

Edgecumbe residents are also being asked to avoid putting large items like fridges and couches into skips that are being placed in streets as part of the cleanup.

About 120 skips and bins are being trucked into Edgecumbe daily and are being taken out as soon as they are filled.

The skips are primarily designed to take carpet, mattresses, food and smaller household items.

Whakatane District civil defence controller Jono Meldrum said people should put bulky whiteware and furniture on roadside berms, and they will be picked up by council staff and contractors over the next few days.

"Please place and stack items safely and try not to block footpaths or the roadway."

Meanwhile the Easter Bunny is visiting people in Edgecumbe in more ways than one today.

A Buddhist organisation is giving $700 to every family unable to move back into their home, because of flood damage.

It'll apply in cases where the house isn't safe or clean enough to stay in overnight or where it's been condemned.

The Tzu Chi Foundation will be dishing out Prezzie cards, loaded with the money.

Bonne said it's an incredible gesture of great kindness.

He says members of the organisation will be in town on Wednesday to distribute the cards.

The mayor will be the other Easter Bunny in Edgecumbe today, handing out chocolate eggs to children.