Milk and bread as well as other essentials have been cleared out of Takaka as the Tasman town is cut off and trucks with supplies are unable to reach them for days.

Several shops have noted they are out of the popular goods as people rushed to stock up on supplies as Cyclone Gita severed the town from Nelson as landslips closed SH60.

Drone footage shows the devastation of the slips on Takaka Hill caused by cyclone Gita. Source: James Thomas

Milk, bread, canned goods and toilet paper was the first to go as people rushed to the supermarket to stock up on items, Fresh Choice manager Roger Pait said.

"The shop was chocker you couldn't even move around."

Advertisement

He advised residents "not to panic, we will get supplies". People should get what they need but be cautious to leave items for other customers.

Last night there was a rush to buy candles and bottled water after the power was knocked out for the town of about 1000 at 4pm.

Cyclone Gita damage in the Riwaka area in the Tasman District. An aerial view of a large landslip on Takaka Hill. Photo / Tim Cuff
Cyclone Gita damage in the Riwaka area in the Tasman District. An aerial view of a large landslip on Takaka Hill. Photo / Tim Cuff

"Quite a few came in last night and we were cleaned out of candles and water."

There was still plenty of booze though, he said.

Super Liquor Takaka owner Karalyn Barnett said the store had seen a steady stream of customers over the past 24 hours.

"It's been steady, mainly beer and wine which is what we usually sell."

Due to the high volume of tourists the shop had a large stockpile of liquor already.

The storm did not damage the store, and after the power went out at 4pm a generator allowed them to keep trading until 10pm, she said.

They had also run out of milk.

On the Spot shop owner Craig Bishop-Everett said "we have run out of bread and milk, we are trying to organise a barge, it may or not happen".

Soy milk, milk powder and all other varieties of milk that the store stocked were gone as well.

"The basic staples are gone but the Civil Defence has done a fantastic job.

"Normality prevails and it just a matter of time until we get supplies."

SH60 on the Riwaka side of the Takaka Hill was severely damaged in several places, cutting the town off.

An New Zealand Transport Agency notice showing the closure of SH60 from Riwaka to Takaka. Photo / Google Maps
An New Zealand Transport Agency notice showing the closure of SH60 from Riwaka to Takaka. Photo / Google Maps

It would remain closed for several days at least, and repairs could take some time, Nelson Tasman Emergency Management Group said.

An update on the situation will be provided by NZTA on Thursday morning.

"Nelson Tasman Civil Defence has arranged for a delivery of food and essential supplies by barge to Port Tarakohe in Golden Bay, which will arrive late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

"Work is also happening to ensure a regular supply continues by sea as long as required."

A limited fuel supply in Golden Bay was being managed with a $30 worth of fuel per vehicle per day restriction in place, Civil Defence said.

"Arrangements have been made so that emergency services and their volunteers, contractors working on the recovery, medical staff and other key personnel have adequate access to fuel."

Despite the road "running like a river", the Takaka Volunteer Fire brigade managed to rescue tourists stranded by rising waters to safety from the Takaka Valley.

"It has been one hell of a storm," volunteer firefighter and Upper Takaka farmer Nigel Harwood said.

The Nelson and Tasman districts were among seven around the country that declared a state of emergency yesterday as former Cyclone Gita battered the country with heavy rain, high seas and strong winds.

About 5.30pm yesterday the brigade was called about a couple whose car had been flooded in the Takaka Valley.

The couple, driving a people-mover, had tried to drive through the torrent but flooded the engine.

"They had been towed by somebody else to higher ground, but by the time we got there the water had risen even further and was starting to surround them.

"We said, 'You guys are going to have to get out of here,' and they jumped in the truck."