Six hundred tourists - some with medical issues - are stranded in Haast, blocked by a huge slip.

One of the tourists had a minor medical condition and was helicoptered out, a Westland District Council spokesperson said.

"Another stranded motorist was a doctor, and they assisted them.

"The person had a minor medical condition, that could have got worse, so we got them out of there."

117 motorists in 39 vehicles are also trapped between Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.
117 motorists in 39 vehicles are also trapped between Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.

117 motorists in 39 vehicles are also trapped between Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.

The council expects these people to be able to drive to Fox Glacier town later this afternoon.

It has activated a Level 3 Emergency Operations Centre in response to severe weather across all of the district.

A helicopter crew is assessing roads in Franz Josef and Fox Glacier and bringing in ground crew to assess how to safely get stranded tourists out.

The council says this is being conducted by New Zealand Police.

"Getting the stranded people out of the area is the first priority; the vehicles will be recovered at a later point in time," a council spokesperson said.

"Challenges with this include slips, fallen trees and, of greatest concern, live power lines down which need to be isolated before the road can be cleared.

"We are aware of a few medical issues and these are being handled as a matter of urgency under the supervision of New Zealand Police."


There is a 100m long slip, 9 metres high, at Douglas Bluff south of Haast.

The council estimates at least 600 tourists to be in Haast.

"We are undertaking a welfare assessment of their needs. The road and slip is being managed by New Zealand Transport Agency and their contractors."

Franz Josef and Fox Glacier water and sanitation is under review.

Franz Josef has no landline or cell coverage.

Dunedin's state of emergency has been lifted, however the Emergency Operations Centre remains active as the recovery there gets under way.

Over 108mm of rain fell in the city yesterday, including about 56mm between noon and 4pm.

Only light drizzle has fallen overnight and floodwaters have now largely receded.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says the focus is now on helping the community to recover.

"It was great to see the whole community – residents, businesses, emergency services, health, DCC staff and contractors and many others – working together to get through yesterday's flooding," he says.

"The early and proactive preparations by all involved ensured that the community coped as well as it possibly could with the downpour."

DCC chief executive Sue Bidrose said 13 properties - most in South Dunedin - had floodwater enter living areas yesterday.

"Our building inspection and environmental health teams are out this morning assessing the affected homes."

Several roads in the area were still closed and there had been some wastewater overflows to waterways and the harbour due to the heavy rain.

Power was restored to most of Hokitika yesterday evening although there were still about 900 consumers without power, mostly in South Westland, Hokitika, and areas in the north towards Inangahua, a Transpower spokesperson said.

Specialist crews are travelling by helicopter to conduct an assessment and begin making repairs to the transmission assets.