There was little warning of last week's flooding in the Ruapehu District, resulting in significant losses for locals and tourism operators.

Jay Cripps lives 5km upstream of Pipiriki on the Whanganui River, where the only access to his whare is via boat.

And in last week's flash flood he lost his motorbike when the water rose.

"I left my bike too low, at the time I wasn't home because we really didn't have much of a warning for this one. Well, not much of a warning anyway," Cripps said.


"So I wasn't too worried about but by the time I got home, it was gone. She would have been up a good 20 metres, the whole river."

He said the water level was similar to another flash flood in 2015.

Tourist operators along the river also experienced losses - canoes, kayaks and other equipment were found kilometres downstream.

"There was so much lost in this one," Josephine Haworth from Whanganui River Adventures said.

"There were so many canoe operators that lost their canoes and kayaks and what not. My brother who tour guides for us, he counted 12 kayaks going down within the space of a couple of minutes."

Josephine Haworth and her partner Ken had to cancel their jet boat tours as it was too dangerous and the extra silt could've clogged up the motors - but a few days later they were back to business as usual.

"There are a few extra logs here and there, a few more obstacles, but yeah as the river goes down a bit more we'll see a bit more as well," Ken said.

Initially, boat access into the river was difficult as with the water came mud and sandstone.

"My husband was up all night with the tractor trying to keep it open, as a local you sort of learn a lot of this stuff as you grow up with it.


"If it wasn't for him that rampway wouldn't be open, but when they realised it and a had a look the next morning the bank had actually come down on top of the rampway," Josephine said.

The boat ramp's been cleared a little - but locals and tourism operators that use the ramp are hoping the Ruapehu District Council will step in and help restore it to full working capacity.

"We would like them to come and open our rampway where we put all out boats in and out and where the canoeists come in," Josephine said.

"Basically, if they don't come on board with that our locals would have to do what we did in 2015 flood and its hard work by spade and shovel, like it's easier with a digger."

Ruapehu District Council Mayor Don Cameron said his teams were inspecting the damage and the initial priority is get all roads open across the district.

"Pipiriki have had many a flood there. So we've just upgraded the wharf anyway recently. So its now easy to get down to there and clean it out, scrape it out.


"We made it far more resilient so when a flood comes through once the flood waters recede, it's just scrapping all the dryness off the surface to allow them to back their boats in and out."

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