Tours at a special educational sanctuary in Whangārei will go ahead despite a major slip and other damage following the recent stormy weather.

A digger was brought in to clear the road at the Dragonfly Springs Wetland Sanctuary in Onerahi on Tuesday but other work has been halted as it was turning into a bit of a mess.

Owner Jeremy Busck, has worked since the 1990s to transform 6ha of junk-filled swamp into a wetland and educational asset, said the damage was the worst he had seen at Dragonfly Spring. But, he said, tours by schools and other groups will carry on.

"The hill has turned into porridge and come down through planting bushes and into part of the stormwater and cleansing wetland. It's not a good idea to play with the slip at this stage," he said.


Torrential rain in Northland closes highways, floods homes
Wild weather: People trapped in cars, flooded homes abandoned in Far North, SH1 closed
Waterlogged: Thunderstorms for the North Island, deluge for the south
Once-in-500-year storm floods Northland, traps residents

Busck said volunteers would be planting away from the slip while tours would continue.

His rain gauge measured 347mm from 7am on Monday last week to 7am the same day this week which, he said, was an understatement as the gauge overflowed.

"We stopped the clean-up because it was turning into a bit of a mess. We wanted to bring the digger driver in and he's cleared the road which was impassable.

"There are tons of rocks here and we'll need labour and gabions which are galvanised wire netting baskets to make terraces so that if bad weather comes, further slips can be stopped."

The Dragonfly site is now a well-planted nature reserve where fresh water springs, drainage helping to process run-off from the Church St ridge above the site, and a pond system support numerous birds.