Natural Hazards Indicators (what we measure)
The district is subject to a wide range of natural hazards. Several significant natural events have been recorded that have caused loss of life, and damage to property and the environment. Our district’s hazards include:
Earthquakes and volcanic hazards – the Matamata-Piako District contains several active fault lines. Geothermal activity occurs at the hot springs at the Te Aroha Domain, the Opal Hot Springs near Matamata and the Okauia and Taihoa geothermal fields in the south of the district.
Flooding – extensive flood protection schemes have been implemented to minimise flood damage in the district.
Erosion and landslides – these are important concerns in hill country in the district, particularly on the steep slopes of Mount Te Aroha, and along the Kaimai Ranges.
Fire – from burning forest is a rare event within the district, but still poses a significant risk.
Wind – this can be a problem in areas adjacent to the Kaimai Ranges, and in known wind tunnelling areas.
Peat Soils – these represent a hazard because of the subsidence, fire and flood risks that are associated with them.
There are approximately 8,091 hectares of land that has been identified by Council as being at risk of flooding. A ‘flood event’ is a mean annual event or higher. There were three weather events recorded in 2014/15. The most severe of these, on December 17, resulted in damage to house cladding and roofs in Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha. Emergency crews also responded to branches blown on to roads, downed powerlines and a truck being blown over in Te Poi. Drivers were advised to avoid the Old Te Aroha Road due to high winds. In 2015/16, in a weather event on 31st July, flooding was recorded on Te Aroha-Gordon Road and the Old Te Aroha Road and a footbridge across the Waihou River was closed. In a weather event recorded from 31st December to 2nd January 2016, trees were blown over and there were four incidences of roofs lifting.
In April 2017, Cyclone Cook and Debbie caused widespread flooding. Matamata and Waharoa residents were asked to conserve water as the heavy rain caused flooding at a water treatment station, causing damage to pumps. A number of roads throughout the district were closed for several days and flooding to a number of buildings was reported.
In the 2017/18 year, two weather events caused flooding and road closures, particularly in rural areas. On 29 April 2018, there was flooding on the Te Aroha-Gordon and Old Te Aroha Roads and both Mace Road and Armadale Road were closed due to the Waihou River overtopping. On 6 June, the Ohinewai-Tahuna Road and the Te Aroha-Gordon Road were flooded, and Mace Road was again closed due to the height of the Waihou River.
Between 2010/11 and 2012/13 and from 2014/15 onwards no damage was recorded to public property from natural hazards. However, in the 2013/14 year, the 17th April flooding caused approximately $20,000 damage to Thompsons Track on the Kaimai Ranges.
New developments in known hazard zones are potentially at high risk of being damaged by hazard events. Between 2008/09 and 2017/18, 153 resource consents have been applied for within the flood protection area in the district. All of the consents were granted, subject to conditions to mitigate potential adverse effects. These consents were for activities such as building new sheds to house livestock or poultry, relocating dwellings, upgrading buildings and to build a jetty.