Some homes in the Rangitikei and Manawatu are still without power, days after a fierce storm battered the central part of New Zealand.

Heavy snow, rain and wind knocked over around 100 power poles and kilometres of power lines, leaving more than 10,000 homes with no power at the height of the storm.

By midday today there were still 1200 customers without power in some in remote parts of the central region, including Taihape and Mangaweka, Powerco said.

Roads are also gradually being reopened although many are still icy and motorists are warned to take care.


The Desert Road (State Highway 1 between Rangipo to Waiouru) and SH56 to Opiki have been opened today. SH38 between Wairoa and Te Uruwera National Park remains closed.

Powerco Operations Manager Phil Marsh said it could take a few more days to restore supply to some very rural customers.

The network had received "massive damage" similar to the comparable snowstorm of 2002, he said. Fixing the damage is expected to cost around $2 million.

"We have identified those customers we anticipate will be worst affected. While some may have their own generators our staff are contacting everyone to see if they need assistance."

"We are gradually mopping up problem areas in other parts of our Western region in Wairarapa, Manawatu, Whanganui and Taranaki. Once we are on top of those, more crews will be sent to the Central Plateau to continue restoration work there."

That would involve replacing about 100 poles brought down in the storm and repairing kilometres of downed lines.

"Good progress is being made restoring high voltage supply. However, some people might still have low voltage problems that we don't know about.

"People might notice their neighbour has power and they don't. That is a low voltage problem and they need to contact their retailer who will let us know."


Anyone coming across downed lines should keep well clear of them and call emergency services on 111 or the emergency Powerco number 0800 27 27 27 immediately.

This number should only be used for emergencies - for power outages, check the Powerco website or call your power retailer, he said.