Phones have been out of action in the Ruatiti area since Saturday afternoon after a suspected lightning strike.

They are expected to be reconnected today.

Ruatiti resident Winston Oliver said there were locals with no lines of communication for nearly four days. An estimated 30 households were affected.

Mr Oliver said the one or two households in the remote area - about 26km northward from Raetihi by road - who had Inspire Net still had working phones, but everyone else had had no means of communication for nearly four days.


There was no cellphone coverage in the area.

"For emergencies, we've got nothing," Mr Oliver said.

"If we've got a fire or a health problem, we've got no phone. Such a long delay is just unacceptable."

Mr Oliver walked to the top of a hill on his property on Sunday to report the fault but was put on hold for an hour and was not prepared to wait in the rain.

"I went home and forgot about it," he said. Mr Oliver suspected it could be a problem with a radio repeater.

"We rely on the phones, we use them all the time," he said. "No one really knows how long it's going to be out for."

A Chorus spokesperson said the company was working to fix the network and should have it fixed by today. The outage had most likely been caused by a lighting strike.

Meanwhile, Spark first learned of the fault on Monday morning and a spokesperson told the Chronicle it was affecting about 30 households.