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Monday 12 June 2006 -  Snowstorm

 Coldest June since 1972 - South Canterbury, N.Z

The Crown Hotel is classed as a heritage building with a category B rating.
The Crown Pub, Geraldine, the next morning.

The first big fall of winter closed the main highway south of Christchurch and blanketed much of the island.  It came thick and fast, half a meter deep in places. It fell by the sea. The snow kept on bucketing down. Snow as far as the eye could see.  Trees heard cracking. Woke up with snow, Kids thrilled. It got down to -12.8C at Twizel. 19,000 found themselves without power.  Many rural residents in the dark for days. Many prepared. Snow just got deeper the further the power workers move into the back blocks. Diesel generators in demand. Urban roads had been closed. Farmers priority - looking after stock. Have not heard of any significant stock losses. The mail has got through - the power and phone bill.  SH8 between Timaru and Twizel was closed with no alternative route available. SH77 between Ashburton and Darfield was closed. SH80 between the junction of SH8 and Mt Cook was closed, as was SH79 between Geraldine and Fairlie.  Fairlie had 40 centimeters of snow, Sherwood Downs had 60cm and up to a metre at Lilydale. The situation had brought gales to severe gales in the North Island and "dragged up very cold southerlies over the South Island".  Snowfalls of 10cm to 15cm had been recorded in parts of Christchurch, with 25cm-30cm at Rolleston, 30cm in Kirwee, 32cm at Burnham and 25cm -30cm at Geraldine.  
Timaru Botanic Gardens, 17cm, but residents reported closer to 25cm in parts of the city;
Waimate township 10-30cm;
Pleasant Point and Geraldine 25-30cm;
Winchester, Fairlie, Twizel and Tekapo, 30-40cm;
Waihaorunga 100cm;
Main Divide in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park 200cm.
Power: Worst damage to South Canterbury systems in 30-40 years. Ten thousand without power immediately after the storm, but by the next day down to about 2500. It took more than two weeks to restore power to every household in South Canterbury.


Severe winter storms batter New Zealand
by Kaye Forster, BBC

The winter season has well and truly set in here over the past few days. A winter storm has caused chaos to many areas across both the North and South Islands. An intense area of low pressure developed quickly over the Tasman Sea during the weekend and marched steadily into the South Island during Sunday. The storm brought heavy snowfall and gale force winds to many parts, and there were even reports of a tornado in the west coast town of Greymouth. The snow has come with some pros and cons. Up to 15cm of snow have fallen in South Canterbury, which has coincided with the start of the ski-season. However, several buildings have collapsed under the weight of the heavy snow in the eastern town of Timaru. Many roads have also been blocked.
In the capital, Wellington, the winds reached 80mph, ripping roofs from houses and buildings, and tearing down power-lines. Thousands were plunged into darkness and left without electricity. The snow also caused disruption to flights from Christchurch International airport. The airport was closed for several hours, which left hundreds of passengers stranded. Phone systems and traffic lights have also been disrupted causing traffic chaos. Further north the snow turned to torrential rain. Several landslides have been reported across the North Island, and flash flooding has damaged many homes. In the northern city of Auckland, power was cut to more than half of the houses and businesses in the city. Officials have stated that ‘restoring power to all parts of New Zealand’s largest city will take some time’.

Canterbury snowstorm up there with the worst
 Saturday June 24, 2006 NZ Herald

The snowstorm that struck the South Island on June 11-12 brought between 75cm and 90cm of snow to the townships of Fairlie and Burkes Pass in the South Island's Mackenzie district. The coastal towns of Ashburton received 38cm and Timaru 24cm. The last similar-sized storm was on August 5-6, 1973, when 90cm of snow fell at Methven, in Mid-Canterbury, when 100,000 sheep were killed and the power supply and communications were badly disrupted, as in the latest storm. In November 1967, between 60cm and 90cm fell in the South Island's Mackenzie district. Up to 70,000 sheep were killed, there were widespread power outages and crop losses, and some called it the worst snowfall in living memory.

Many facing days with no power
14 June 2006  by Claire Haren,
Timaru Herald

Power was yesterday restored to the Geraldine, Fairlie and Tekapo townships, but more than 1000 households around South Canterbury face at least two to three more days without electricity. Posties were delivering some mail on foot, and as soon as conditions were safe, would resume normal deliveries. Alpine Energy chief executive said an extra lines crew arrived in Timaru yesterday, and two crews from Marlborough and one from Queenstown were due to arrive last night and begin work today. Crews would be working 7am to 6pm until Friday, and by that stage it was hoped power would be restored to the majority of customers. At 5pm yesterday efforts were still being made to get Twizel powered up again, but it was likely the township would face another night – if not two – without electricity. Access was the major issue for restoring Twizel's supply. Power was back on in Aoraki-Mt Cook, and in a number of homes in Marchwiel, in Timaru, although not to all. Pareora's biggest consumer, the PPCS freezing works, had power back on, and a small part of the township. Areas like St Andrews, Lyalldale, Bluecliffs and Beaconsfield were still waiting. People in areas like those, and other rural areas including Seadown, Levels Plain, Claremont, Hadlow, Fairview, Sutherlands and Totara Valley should plan for two to three more days without electricity. There is a level of frustration creeping in for people who have been in an urban area that's had supply off – mainly because they haven't been in that situation before. The rural community is pretty good. They're a bit more resilient and more relaxed. We're getting a lot of support from them, particularly with getting access into properties and providing tractors. Crews were working as quickly as they could to get the most customers as possible back on to the network.

Shouldn't be too many stock loses as it has come at the start of winter. Farmers a busy snow raking. But the snow is NOT as bad as the August 1973. This one has covered a huge area, Waimate area probably the hardest hit.  The snowstorm was worse than November 1973 or August 1967 in one respect as coming in June, so stayed longer, was much earlier than the other two and the November snow was very soft and lasted just a week as of course the days were longer and hotter.

Looking up Huffy St, Geraldine
Huffy Street, Geraldine, Tuesday June 13th

No power creates havoc for dairy farmers
14 June 2006 by Andrew Swallow

With snow lying a foot deep across much of the region, winter supply dairy farmers face a paradox: one of the biggest problems is cooling the milk. The thousands of litres that pour into the vat at milking time would normally be chilled to 4C in an hour or two, but with no electricity supply to most farms it is taking much longer to lose the body heat of the cow. That is raising quality concerns and it remains to be seen whether they will be paid for milk delivered above temperature or below quality standards. One farmer, from Seadown said he and three other winter supply farmers have been sharing a hired generator to get the cows milked, but between milkings the farm is without power. "We've got no refrigeration, no stirring, no hot water to clean the machines," he said. The power went off at 2am on Monday, and hasn't been back on since. They have had no indication of when they can expect to be reconnected. "I would like to know where they've been working, that's all. They seem to be busy reconnecting the town businesses before they start on the country." With cows cut back to once-a-day milking, instead of two, there had been a drop in production and the generator and extra supplement feeding were added costs. Clandeboye supply liaison officer confirmed there probably would be some quality issues with the milk supplied, but said the volumes would be small and any waste would be disposed of properly. So far as he was aware all farms had managed to get cows milked and tankers had reached all but a handful. "There are some farms around Geraldine that we have had real issues getting to."

Costly recovery for snowbound SC farmers
14 June 2006
Timaru Herald

While the region's farmers continue to take the disruption of the snow in their stride, the costs are starting to mount. Helicopters at around $1000/hour have been hauling hay to isolated stock and winter supply dairy farms have had to hire generators to get cows milked. Reports of stock losses remain few so far but the figures could start to escalate if the freeze continues. The discomfort of life without electricity also seems set to drag on for a few more days, probably running into weeks in the remotest areas. "We've been informed it will be another week before we are reconnected," said a farmerfrom from Foveran Station in the Hakataramea Valley. Powerlines were down all along the valley and snow at the top is lying two foot deep. While he had been able to get feed to stock with a four-wheel drive tractor with dual wheels on, others had been using helicopters to drop hay to those they couldn't reach, he said. At Cattle Creek, in the Hakataramea Pass, have a helicopter coming in today to help them spot 1700 two-tooth ewes caught on a south face. "We will just try to sight them. Then we've got a bulldozer coming in at midday to make tracks out and the men will get out there on foot snow raking and treading paths to bring them in to the tracks." "In total we've got 4000 ewes out there, including the main mob of halfbred ewes. We will try to get them home as well. I hope we can get a mob a day so it will take two days." If the sheep and cattle were reached in two or three days with feed, it wouldn't be too much of a problem. "But if it gets much over that then it starts to get very serious."

Record snowfall hits Canterbury
13 June 2006 by Staff Reporters

The MetService is under fire after failing to warn Cantabrians of heavy snow to sea level – until there was already half a metre lying on the ground. Some parts of the region experienced their deepest snowfalls for more than 30 years, forcing the MetService to admit it could have done better. Canterbury farmers have lashed out at the state-owned weather forecasting company for not giving them adequate warning. "We were told there was a fast-moving front heading north and some rain, but there was never mention of snow, particularly down the low levels," said Winchmore farmer. The snowfall was bigger than its 1992 predecessor, but not as destructive to livestock because farmers had yet to begin calving or lambing. There was, however, damage to woolsheds and shelter belts. Feeding livestock was the first priority for farmers. The first warning of heavy snow was not issued until 8.30pm on Sunday. It warned that up to 15cm could fall to 300m in South Canterbury, with lighter falls to 200m. But by yesterday morning about 15cm of snow covered the roads south of Christchurch. Several motorists and about 10 trucks were trapped in thick snow near Dunsandel, with some waiting for as long as six hours before moving. State Highway 1 was closed from Ashburton to Oamaru, as were parts of SH6, SH73 and SH8 along with Lindis Pass, Porters Pass and Arthurs Pass. Road workers battled through the freezing conditions to clear the highway and help motorists. By afternoon workers had cleared most of the highway from Rakaia to Christchurch, allowing the small amount of traffic on the road to flow smoothly.

Some roofs and verandahs in Timaru's central business district collapsed under the weight of the snow. Thousands of houses and rural properties went without power as the snow toppled trees, snapped branches and brought down power lines throughout the province. Canterbury lines company Orion said half their rural customers – about 8000 – were without power yesterday after lines fell in high winds and collapsed under heavy snow. About 90 per cent of those customers should have power by this evening but more remote areas might not be reconnected until later in the week. Electricity Ashburton network manage said all its customers – from the Rakaia River to the Rangitata River and inland to the main divide – and the more inaccessible rural areas may not be reconnected for up to three days.  We've taken a fair hammering here. In North Canterbury many roads were impassable except in 4WDs as the southerly storm dumped up to 30cm of snow in the foothills. Oxford, Rangiora and Amberley had around 10cm to 15cm of snow. Farmers were out early feeding stock, with some finding it difficult to reach animals because of the depth of the snow. In the 30 hours to 3pm yesterday, Greymouth was soaked in 186mm of rain, the most since 2000. Near gale-force winds sent rain flying horizontally off roofs, giving Greymouth the worst storm in at least 15 years. The storm is now moving out into sea so things should calm down again over the next few days.

Locals rise above snow's aftermath
14 June 2006

The big snowfall in South Canterbury seems to have had little effect on people's morale. Out and about in Geraldine and Fairlie, residents seemed to have taken it on the chin and in some cases reacquainted with neighbours. Apart from the fact neither town had power for long periods and a large number of trees were downed – both communities appear to have escaped relatively unscathed. Geraldine resembled a ghost town yesterday morning but as the sun appeared so did its residents with lots of people out walking. Teenagers and those younger seemed to have found every slope worth sliding down on anything from old car bonnets to boogie boards, sheets of polythene to tyre tubes. Woodbury had a peaceful calm. Lunch was cooking on the barbecue, with a glass of wine, and venison from the defrosting freezer on the menu. "Gas has been the saviour over the last couple of days." Geraldine Supervalue had come to life and did a roaring trade. Owner said he was approached by a number of people so he hired a generator to power the lights. It took older shoppers back a number of years with the electronic tills replaced by staff using calculators. Hardest hit by the power outages were the elderly and resthomes. McKenzie HealthCare manager said things had been very, very difficult. The facility, which has 45 residents in a resthome, hospital and hospice, was getting by. "The community had rallied around with staff magnificently to get them through," she said. Ms W. said she awoke on Monday morning and knew there would be problems and ordered the generator straight away. "That's given us enough to do the essentials, including providing oxygen." The manager was hopeful the power would be back on quickly. In Fairlie it seemed the snow, up to 60cm in places, had brought neighbours together. They were busy helping each other clean snow from balconies and driveways and ensuring everyone was okay. Fairlie's R. B. said everyone was mucking in and the power was back on at around 3pm so no-one could really complain. He was however disparaging of Environment Canterbury over their clean heat initiatives.  "This should show Ecan that one size doesn't fit all. In their world no one would have wetbacks or fires that burnt all night without which we would have been buggered." Mr B. said they could keep the heat pumps in the big cities.

Military called to assist snow-bound Canterbury
15 June 2006
Timaru Herald

Soldiers from Burnham Military Camp, south of Christchurch, are preparing to help relief efforts throughout snow-bound Canterbury. Defence Minister Phil Goff announced today the army and air force were on stand-by after a request from Civil Defence co-ordinators worried about further icy weather forecast for the weekend. Thousands of properties in the hinterland from South Canterbury to North Canterbury are still without power and telephones today, four days after the province was smothered by the heaviest snowstorm since 1992. Announcing the Defence Force assistance efforts this afternoon, Mr Goff said Burnham-based army personnel and vehicles would head out to remote areas to check the state of the roads and assess damage to infrastructure. Two RNZAF Iroquois helicopters would join the army later today. Mr Goff said an aviation fuel tanker was sent to the South Island yesterday and the Defence Force put on stand-by "in anticipation of a request for support". "Late this morning the acting director of Civil Defence formally requested assistance and as a result elements of the Defence Force have now been deployed," he said. Mr Barker said Defence Force vehicles were ready to move into isolated areas to help contact people and assist with welfare issues and emergency operations. Captain Rachel Riley, of Defence Force headquarters in Wellington, said two liaison officers from Burnham-based 3rd Land Force Group had been sent to hard-hit Fairlie and Waimate in South Canterbury to assess any support requirements. "At the moment, we're still assessing the situation. Later this afternoon, we're hoping to find out what support might be going out," she said. Military vehicles, such as the heavy Unimogs and lighter Pinzgauers, were being prepared in case they were required. People were urged to stock up with essentials, such as fuel for heating and cooking, food and water for an extended period, mobile phones and means to recharge them from car batteries, and battery operated radios. MetService forecasters warned this afternoon of another polar blast sweeping north from late tomorrow. Timaru District Council land transport manager said attempts to clear all rural roads of snow were being hampered by downed power lines and low-slung lines preventing work by graders. "Our drivers are finding the lines a major problem problem and we will have to wait until they are repaired before returning to complete the road clearing operations," he said. Twelve graders and a snow plough were working to clear the roads. Many district roads were still affected by downed lines, but sealed urban roads were now clear.

The 3rd Logistic Battalion field and liaison staff from Burnham Camp and 3 RNZAF Iriquois from Ohakea, Palmerston North contributed to the emergency response. Soldiers on Wednesday 20 June, delivered a generator to power welfare centre established in the Maungati Community Hall, Waimate District. On Thursday 21 June 3 delivered another load of generators, supplied the Ministry of CDEM, to various locations in South Canterbury. They also carried food donated by the Salvation Army in Timaru to Waimate and Mackenzie districts.

The ultimate good neighbour
14 June 2006

South Canterbury has been full of acts of kindness this week dealing with the aftermath of the snow storm. It is indicative of a community which cares. A host of four-wheel drivers whose help ensured vital services could be maintained, and that people needing help got it. They also ensured yesterday's Herald was delivered. D. spent Monday on the road in his four-wheel-drive. The word is, he helped deliver meals on wheels, and also played `taxi' for those who needed to get too and from work. D. took it upon himself to check on many of the older residents in the area, ensuring they were coping without power. The Geraldine resident who told us of D.'s efforts suggested the last couple of days have proved just how good it is to live in a small community where people do care about each other.

Stakes raised as snow turns to ice
14 June 2006

State highways around South Canterbury re-opened yesterday, but with freezing conditions predicted, it was possible some would close again overnight. Road clearing around the region continued, with the Timaru District Council revising its strategy to provide access through the district, in order to get schools and buses operational again in urban areas, and rural roads open for at least 4WD vehicles. "It could potentially take us three to four weeks to get roads completely clear of snow, but by introducing a strategy such as this we will at least get to all our farmers and have rural centres open again." Road conditions meant a patient from the Mackenzie area had to be taken by helicopter to Timaru hospital yesterday morning. St Johns District Operations manager said the road conditions were too dangerous to risk taking the patient to hospital by ambulance. With many city motorists opting to become pedestrians yesterday, local 4WD club members provided much-needed transport for the second day running. The day started early for 16 members of the Timaru Town and Country Club's 4WD section, who played "paper boy" for the morning. Some members were on the road shortly after 6.30am, and by early afternoon they had delivered 6000 papers to Timaru addresses. Water supplies in Geraldine have been restored, with the use of a generator, but boil water notices are in force for the Te Moana and Peel Forest water supplies.

Snow brings out best and the worst!
14 June 2006

Timaru's one in 60-year snowstorm has brought out the best in people. Amid stories of neighbours looking in on neighbours and people going the extra distance to help out, there are others. The people who want the council to clear their road first ... oh, and if you could do the driveway while you're at it . . . Timaru mayor Janie Annear yesterday called for tolerance and understanding. "It's a major event, a one in 60-year event, maybe even one in 100 . . . everybody is doing as much as they possibly can. I guess the message is, please be tolerant. Things are not going to come right overnight and we have all got to work together." Mrs Annear said while most people were being absolutely fantastic, some needed a little perspective. "While you're worried about your otto, there are people who don't even have electricity, who are really struggling." Mrs Annear said the interesting aspect was that the people with the greatest needs were often the most patient. "It's often the elderly people in our community who are used to tough times who are in fact coping the best." The Town and Country's four-wheel drive club members saw the good and the bad of human nature as they delivered 6000 copies of The Timaru Herald around Timaru yesterday. One woman proved that old adage that a way to a man's heart is via his stomach. She arrived at the gate with hot scones for her paper deliverer. But of course it wasn't just with the paper delivery that the four-wheel drivers were helping out. One had a chainsaw on board and did a bit of tree chopping and driveway clearing for an elderly woman. There was no way he was accepting payment in spite of her insistence. Other motorists had the club members to thank for pulling them out after they found themselves stuck.

Geraldine Motors
Geraldine Motors

June 16, 2006 Timaru Herald

On Phar Lap Road, a family faces a two-week wait before electricity and phone lines are reconnected. The dairy farming family doesn't live on a remote mountain station cut off from the world. Seadown is a semi-rural settlement just off the main east coast highway and a 10-minute drive from the large town of Timaru. But with 50 poles down, the local utility says its 200 homes are looking at a fortnight without power. Seadown's residents are among about 6,000 people still doing it tough in Canterbury province nearly a week after one of the biggest dumps of snow it's experienced in the past 50 years. The military has been deployed to help farmers cut off by the storm as power and telecom employees work around the clock to reconnect the region. To get by, the children are spending nights with grandparents in Timaru while their parents use a shared generator to milk cows, and dine and bathe at the home of friends. "We were milking, we finished last night at 12.30am," "We come home at night (just) to sleep. The picturesque town of Geraldine at the foot of the Southern Alps, is also outraged at officialdom. She's angry at New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark and Opposition Leader Don Brash for not getting involved in the crisis. "If we were in Australia, (Prime Minister) John Howard would have been out in a helicopter. "I think it's disgusting there's been no word from Don Brash or Helen Clark. They live in a world of their own. "Some of these people are doing it hard." The roads in Geraldine were clear by the end of the week as people went about their lives. The town's vintage car and tractor museum, didn't fare so well. The roof of one of its buildings collapsed from the weight of the snow, at a cost of about $250,000, although most of the valuable tractors inside were not damaged. The region may have further woes ahead, with more snow and ice forecast for the weekend. "I just hope we don't get the weather they predict."

Christchurch June 16
We did get snow and heavy rain in Christchurch, plus about 3 degrees on those snow days but the farmers and others in the Mid Canterbury and Sth Canty got it much worse and has still not thawed and they are having to feed out hay to their stock when they do find them. Power lines down in many places and about 2000 still without it and trees and barns damaged by the weight of the snow. Many farming people are always ready with standby lighting-and keep logburners with hot plates for cooking or old coal ranges as their parents did before them. It is the heaviest snow for about 20yrs and came earlier than expected, generally in July but June this year. Schools and many roads were closed etc. There has been a big buy up in the supermarkets this week as another lot of snow is forecast. The Army was helping with packs of essential food to some in the areas where deep snow was keeping elderly and others indoors as the icy snow is dangerous to walk on etc. Cars were often snowed in their garages. It was called a "Weather bomb" but the weather forecasters have been in big trouble in not showing it was going to be such a big storm so that farmers could get their stock down from the hills etc. We in Christchurch had not much to moan about except it was cold and the roads were dangerous and some closed on hill sections for a day. We do have sunshine today and it is warmer so we hope the farmers are getting a thaw now too.

An open letter to Auckland
18 June 2006 The Press - Geraldine journalist John Keast on last week's Big Snow.

Dear Aucklanders,
Look, I won't go on, but I wanted to tell you about some people I met this week. They won't want me to tell you, but I will anyway. When you woke on Monday morning, I guess you went to work. Or didn't. When some of these folk woke, their world changed. It had turned white and very cold. Across the central South Island, deep snow filled every corner of the land. Snow lay knee-deep in Ashburton and Geraldine, and it was up to your ankles at Caroline Bay. Yes, at Caroline Bay in Timaru, the Riviera of the South. Snow is hard to shift. So think of Anne Harrison. She and husband Joe run Lochaber station, way back, way up in the South Canterbury hills. Hell, Joe could hardly walk through the stuff. And neither could his sheep. People across this region are tucked up against fires and heaters. If they have them. Some just lie in bed and put on extra clothes. Some have to get out and work. Like Joe. He has to goose-step through the snow, wondering if he will get sheep to lower ground in time to save them from the comfort and cold of its grip. That's the thing about snow and wind. It can bring your senses into sharp relief. Make you wonder: Should I have got in more wood? Should I live here? Yes, you should. You live here because you love it here and because you love the cantankerous climate. You live here because sometimes you catch a glimpse of life in a quiet stream or in the happiness of another, or you feel the very real warmth of human kindness. There has been a lot of that. And there hasn't been a murmur of complaint. Not even from those who still have no power, or a phone, or anyone to talk to. Call us simple. But I'll tell you what. If things get really tough - if it snows again and again and we are all trapped, let me be trapped here.

June 18 - Gapes Valley, are still without power after one week and are not likely to get it back on till the end of this week! There is a lot of damage to gardens and trees, but everyone has coped pretty well.

June 19 - Kimbell has had quite a fall of snow this time. About 2 foot in Kimbell with about 8 inches still on the ground in places but have kept in touch by phone did not lose the phone service but power was off from Monday morning until the next Saturday evening.  Was down at Kimbell from 2nd to 5th July and it was amazing at how much snow was still there. That was three weeks after the initial snow. It had been so cold and with frosts most days it just was not thawing. Apparently it is starting to thaw more now but there is still plenty around. It must be awful for the farmers.

Linesmen bring power back to more SC homes
20 June 2006  by Claire Haren, Timaru Herald

The lights went on in more South Canterbury homes yesterday, with 140 people working in the region to restore power. The day's work reduces the number of households without power to between 700 and 800, with Alpine Energy aiming to have everyone back on the network by Sunday evening. Chief executive said yesterday that about 40 customers in the Waimate district remained without power, mostly in the south-west and north-west parts of the district. Several hundred people in the Mackenzie district were now into their second week without electricity. Burkes Pass was livened yesterday afternoon, as were some households at Haldon Station. There's quite a bit of work going on in the Mackenzie, with a large number of crews working in there. There's probably the best part of 25 to 30 people working to restore Fairlie, Albury and surrounding areas. Considerable work was needed in the Lyalldale area, which had become problematic, and Alpine was looking at options for a temporary supply in that area. Bristol Road was re-livened, but areas around Southburn, Gordons Valley, Craigmore, Maungati and Taiko still required work, as did Milford, Gapes Valley, Kakahu, Beautiful Valley and Peel Forest. Two or three days' work was required in Waitohi, and in Seadown, only a handful of customers remained without power. Concrete power poles in coastal areas bore the brunt of the snow, snapping as broken wires twisted them off balance. When you get the alpine snows coming down to the coast, you will have that sort of damage. An estimated 200 to 300 power poles were having to be replaced throughout the district. Wooden poles – with a lifespan of 50 years – were being used, as concrete poles, made at Alpine's batching plant, had to be cured for 28 days before they could be used. Alpine had some stocks, but also had a supplier in Christchurch, and had sourced some poles from Marlborough, and had offers from Invercargill.

The South Island, N.Z. June 13 2006.

To get a snowfall such as the 2006 dumping, South Canterbury would need very rapid falling pressure within a low pressure system.

19th June 800 homes without power.

Power supplies were still unavailable in a number of areas and telecommunications, via both landline and cell tower, were non-existent in some parts. The Mackenzie Basin and Hakataramea Valley in South Canterbury were worst affected. Deep snow. Helicopters working to get man power to isolated areas. Accessibility - getting to the poles they are not beside the road but across country. Driving conditions treacherous. 10 and 20 cm in Timaru.  Many prepared. Farmers looking after stock. Plenty of fodder. Cooking with gas.

June 19th. Timaru - Biggest snowfall for 60 years – even covered Caroline Bay.  We got a right dumping of snow last Sunday/Monday night - worst for 60 years - I suppose it isn't everywhere you get snow on the beach. Everything was shut down on the Monday, lots of power poles came down so many didn't ( some in outlying areas still don't have it back on ) have power - we were one of the lucky ones that didn't lose it at all. The 4WD club stepped up to the mark - the only way anyone was getting anywhere the first 2-3 days was by 4WD - and collected people ( like hospital workers ) that had to be at work. Schools were shut for the entire week - just too dangerous to go out the door if it wasn't absolutely necessary. Things are getting back to normal in town here but areas like Fairlie are still feeling it, especially farmers with cows to milk etc. and no power. Life is here just beginning to get back to normal, but still people at Seadown, Kingsdown and Salisbury, etc are without power. On TV, Fairlie and area looked very beautiful, but snow certainly disrupts and can be very damaging. The trees on our property got a hammering – everyone’s properties actually – and the Timaru District Council is kindly allowing free dumping of vegetation at the dump at the moment.

SC insurance bill expected to top $5m (now $7m)
20 June 2006 by Rhonda Markby, Timaru Herald

Insurance claims for snow damage in Canterbury are expected to top $5 million. While that figure could go higher once claims from the high country come in, the damage is not expected to be as severe as the $9 million of claims lodged in Canterbury after the 1992 snow storm. Insurance Council insurance manager said it usually took about six weeks after a major weather event before the industry knew the extent of the claims. At this stage many of the claims are reasonably small, and are primarily for damaged spouting and conservatories. Some commercial claims are starting to come through in South Canterbury for warehouses and for business disruption. Some of those claims could be substantial. While many homeowners have already put in claims those in the high country still did not even have communication, and it could be some time before they were in a position to lodge a claim. While home owners will generally not be insured for the cost of garden tidy-ups and plant replacement, their bills will be nothing like those the Timaru District Council is facing. Around 30 people usually look after the district's parks and reserves, but yesterday that number was increased to 50 to help deal with the clean-up. The work is costing around $12,000 a day, with the total cost expected to be between $200,000 and $300,000, although the full extent of the damage was still not known. We are still winding up and  was very grateful for the offers of help made by a number of contractors. The figure would simply be for cleaning up debris and trimming damaged trees. It did not include the cost of replacement trees and plants. The first priority was to restore road access into all parks and reserves, followed by walkways.

It seems that people can’t survive without power for long these days. The world has changed even on a farm!! The power people are getting endless flak about it not all up an running straight away however there are only so many linesmen who are already working around the clock trying to do there best in icy conditions the snow brought down so many powerlines and a lot of areas are very isolated.  The government has received so much flack about it all that Helen decided to see for herself. Prior to the snow storm in the south power went off in Newmarket, Auckland business area for 5hrs a complete blackout in the middle of the day all business’s had to shut it’s doors there were howls of rage to the government for it all it seems there was a faulty clip a line snapped and lay across the other wires at one of the sub stations in Auckland. The government has been under a lot of pressure to provide more power for Auckland. Unfortunately no one wants great big pylons across their farms to provide power.

June 26. Kimbell had about 24 inches snow although it reached the top of the fence posts at the back of the house. Mt Dobson is certainly set up for the rest of the season. All the main roads are now open but fairly is experiencing -15deg frosts We had no power, phone, water for seven days and it took four days to dig the car out. This means we were quite well off really as there are several hundred homes still without power. June 25 2006  2,000 households whose electricity was cut off two weeks ago by the snow. Apparently there are still 200 households without power. Even up at Sherwood Downs it was a huge snowfall. A farmer from Sherwood Downs was on the TV one night last week – he had no power. Some around the district were sharing generators. We are having some lovely sunshine at the moment, but it is very frosty in the mornings.

Snow hampers hospital more than doctor strike
17 June 2006 by Helen Pickering

The snow is causing more operational problems for Timaru Hospital than the junior doctors' strike, South Canterbury District health Board communications adviser said yesterday. "We have 99 in-patients and 139 beds all together but it is not unusual to be 80 to 90 per cent full. She said apart from the strike there were still staff that could not get to work because of road conditions and four-wheel-drives were being used to take some staff to and from work. We have made showers in the garden block available for staff who don't have water or electricity, and the laundry is offering to do washing for those people.

Snow Rakers
17 June 2006 by Clair Haren, Timaru Herald

Snow fell again in Tekapo, Burkes Pass and Waimate yesterday, giving rise to fears that a further dumping could set the region back after five intensive days of recovery. Locals took warnings to stock up for the weekend seriously, with supermarkets doing a brisk trade, and items like batteries, gas cookers and candles were in hot demand. Mackenzie Civil Defence co-ordinator said Iroquois crews had been in Fairlie loading up provisions to take up to the top of the Claytons, and check the high country stations, particularly Lochaber and Blue Mountain. All was well in those areas. The helicopters had been deployed to the Waimate district yesterday afternoon. Mackenzie had also been doing a lot of work with Four Peaks – although it was in the Timaru district, it was easier to access from the Mackenzie. "We've been organising helicopters to get up there and drop in four or five teams of snow rakers up there." Snow rakers were also working in the Albury and Blue Mountain areas. Army trucks arrived in Fairlie yesterday afternoon, and residents in the Mt Nessing area were being advised the army would be in the area today. Army personnel would be mostly used to help feed out stock, and the unimog trucks would also be used to help out on the high country stations. Civil Defence was organising generator packs to distribute to areas without power, to be used to keep freezers, water supplies, or heating going. Power was back on in most Mackenzie townships, but many of the outlying areas were still without power, and could be until next week. On Thursday afternoon, a helicopter assessing snow damage crashed near Blue Mountain. Alpine Energy chief executive said that the helicopter with two people on board had been flying for almost three hours when the accident happened. The pilot and observer suffered minor injuries, but the helicopter was badly damaged in the crash, north-west of Geraldine. Efforts continued to get power and phone services back on, and work will continue over the weekend. Telecom was still working to get more customers back into service, with an estimated 1000 – mostly in South Canterbury – still without landlines. Thirteen lines crews from around the South Island were in the field yesterday, endeavouring to get power back to the people. Work will continue over the weekend. Albury regained power yesterday, as did two or three streets in the coastal part of Seadown. Fairlie lost power again for a period of time, but it was restored.

18 June 2006 by Kim Knight

A Canterbury man waiting for a heart transplant was one of those trapped by last week's snow. The snow fell soft and thick. McN. had 12 hours to live. Monday's storm took out power to almost 20,000 Canterbury homes - and left McN with no way to recharge the batteries that keep his experimental heart pump working. Twenty minutes inland from Ashburton, the snow was more than half a metre deep. Helicopters couldn't fly in the white-out conditions. Health authorities considered sending an army Unimog to collect McN. "But there were plenty of other people out there in the crap just as much as us," said McN. "Old people and whatever. We knew we still had the capability to get out." A mate showed up with a tractor and ploughed ahead, and McN.'s wife brought her husband to town in their four-wheel drive. The drive took 1 ˝ hours.

The McN. made it to Ashburton Hospital about the same time as Auckland's traffic lights and latte machines kicked back into action after the city's four-hour power cut. "Just to charge a few batteries," says McN. "And while they were charging, I just sat there, plugged into the mains." Six days later, there's still no power at his Ruapuna home. But the roads are clear, and there's a generator being shared around the neighbourhood. McN., 44, stands in a snowy driveway, pointing out the mountains he will climb when he gets the heart transplant he's waiting for. He is being kept alive by an Australian-built left ventricle assist device. He's one of only two Kiwis now trialling the machine. "I'm very lucky," he says. Was he scared, on Monday? No, says McN. - it's all about planning and being prepared. "Some things are a bit dodgier at times than others." His wife says: "Around here, they all pitch in together. That's just what it's like in the country. In rural New Zealand." There's pumpkin soup heating on the wood stove. A pile of snow on the front lawn where the chilly bin is buried. "That's the fridge," says McN.. "It's all about thinking outside the square." More snow is forecast for today. "We'd probably have to leave a bit quicker than we did the first time," says McN. And then he goes inside for lunch.

Half an hour's drive away, mum-of-three still can't use any appliances. The mid-Canterbury family has been told it could be another week before power returns to their snow-bound home. Cloth nappies hung three deep from the roof. The radio was running on batteries taken from her eldest's birthday presents. "The worst part has been the evenings," she says. At 4.30pm, the children clear the living room floor and put on their pyjamas. Half an hour later, it's pitch dark, and B. is cooking by headlamp on a wood stove. Mashed potatoes, saveloys, pasta - no one has gone hungry this week, she says. Their freezers got a boost from a borrowed generator three days ago. "The fridge is just another cupboard now." They tried packing ice cream in the snow drifts - "it just went sloppy". The outside temperature at 8am yesterday was -1C. B. is still laughing at the way Auckland's four-hour power cut dominated headlines. "I really felt for them."

Raincliff had about 18 inches of snow (12 June) and were without road access for four days and no power for two weeks. Farmers still had winter feed and so stock losses were not heavy. Mainly tree damage and hay barns/sheds collapsed. Neighbours helped each other to feed out on the second day and there was less snow on the tops than on the flat.

The quiet after an early morning snow -  Park Lane, Timaru

 Timaru probably got their biggest dumping of snow ever, right down to the sea. 

Lessons Learned
Timaru Herald
16 July 2006

Declaring a civil defence emergency in the wake of the June 12 snow storm would not have made any difference, according to South Canterbury's three district councils. The councils have acknowledged that declaring an emergency would have let people know the situation was serious. The council did not have a snow emergency plan in place for coastal areas, but do now. The council will be putting generators into its Geraldine and Temuka service centres. The three districts needed to work more closely. There had been problems getting generators to places they were needed, such as Maungati. Calling the army in sooner would have been beneficial. It would have been advantageous to be able to call on the manpower and equipment the army had to shift generators and things like that. Farmers had been concerned about the lack of communications and believed there should be someone in each road who checked neighbours. Ashburton had a trust set up in which a group of experienced people would be available at short notice to undertake things like snow raking. At times like this we want experienced people on the ground and this seems to be the way to do it. Had there been more of a bottom up approach to emergency planning rather than a top down one – people on the ground taking control of an area and letting civil defence know what was needed – things would have moved more smoothly. People wanted manpower available so those with heavy equipment could use it to cut tracks and clear roads to ensure people were not isolated. The emergency operating centre was open around 5am on the first morning and the situation was being monitored constantly. Footpaths were cleared on the south side because the north side was colder and sheltered by houses and would freeze. Civil Defence is the council. We organised the door knocking and food parcels through the Salvation Army, and the four-wheel drive club helped us immensely.

No, didn't take any photos of snow as I  have seen plenty of snow in my life time. Similar to most big snows but not as deep as 1967 or 1972. Problem was it was wet and heavy so broke power wires every where and pulled off guttering. People forget how deep snow can be and get careless about building to handle a meter of snow and also forget to stock up on food.

Frosts take toll on Mackenzie roads
Timaru Herald  22 July 2006 by Claire Haren

Temperatures in the Mackenzie district averaged 1C in June, with the thermometer failing to rise above zero on many days. And the cold conditions – with reports of minus 15C temperatures and below – are taking their toll on the district's roads. Roads which escaped unscathed from the June 12 snow have been experiencing frost heave, resulting in thousands of dollars of damage. In a report to next week's Mackenzie District Council meeting, roading manager said the two to three weeks of severe frosts had caused the most damage to the district's roads. Roads, already saturated by the initial rain and snow event, were frozen to a considerable depth. As water in the ground froze, it expanded, causing a phenomena known as frost heave, which could see soil expand up to 70 per cent. The freezing effect penetrated downwards into the soil from the surface. Roads in a frost heave tender condition were particularly susceptible to damage from heavy vehicles, and while light vehicles might be able to pass without causing damage, the passage of one heavy vehicle could wreck a road. The worst-affected roads in the district were Lochaber Road, Spur Road, Hakataramea Pass Road, Braemar Road, Godley Peaks Road and Lilybank Road. Warning signs had been erected at the start of Braemar, Godley Peaks and Lilybank roads, advising of the road conditions. Frost heave damage had occurred over the whole length of Godley Peaks Road, and a recent inspection had shown that about 800 metres out of the 8.7km length of sealed road had sustained damage. Initial estimates for repairwork were around $120,000. The best treatment for unsealed roads was to limit the amount of traffic, particularly heavy vehicles, and allow the pavement to naturally dry out over time. For sealed roads, the damaged areas of pavement needed to be dug out and replaced with new aggregate that was less prone to frost heave, then the repaired areas re-sealed.

June 10, 2006
Length Of Visible Light: 10h 01m
Length of Day 8h 55m
Max Temperature 60 °F / 16 °C
Min Temperature 35 °F / 2 °C
Dew Point 38 °F / 4 °C
Maximum Humidity 95
Minimum Humidity 36
Sea Level Pressure 29.98 in / 1016 hPa
Wind Speed 3 mph / 5 km/h
Max Wind Speed 6 mph / 9 km/h
June 11
Max Temperature 60 °F / 16 °C
Min Temperature 28 °F / -1 °C
Dew Point 35 °F / 2 °C
Maximum Humidity 89
Minimum Humidity 41
Precipitation 0.43 in / 1.1 cm
Sea Level Pressure 29.64 in / 1004 hPa
Wind Speed 5 mph / 9 km/h
Max Wind Speed 22 mph / 35 km/h
June 12
Max Temperature 39 °F / 4 °C
Min Temperature 32 °F / 0 °C
Dew Point 31 °F / 0 °C
Maximum Humidity 100
Minimum Humidity 51
Precipitation 0.28 in / 0.7 cm
Sea Level Pressure 29.33 in / 993 hPa
Wind Speed 4 mph / 6 km/h
Max Wind Speed 10 mph / 17 km/h
June 13
Max Temperature 41 °F / 5 °C
Min Temperature 28 °F / -2 °C
Dew Point 27 °F / -4 °C
Maximum Humidity 61
Minimum Humidity 45
Precipitation 0.35 in / 0.9 cm
Sea Level Pressure 29.74 in / 1007 hPa
Wind Speed 7 mph / 12 km/h
Max Wind Speed 14 mph / 22 km/h

June 14
Max Temperature 42 °F / 5 °C
Min Temperature 29 °F / -1 °C
Dew Point 28 °F / -3 °C
Maximum Humidity 72
Minimum Humidity 44
Precipitation 0.20 in / 0.5 cm
Sea Level Pressure 29.80 in / 1008 hPa
Wind Speed 6 mph / 9 km/h
Max Wind Speed 10 mph / 17 km/h


Part one, two, three, four. By the way our Prime Minister, Helen Clark, finally visited Sherwood Downs, Fairlie to see our bad it was, flew in by helicopter to Tim O'Connor's, 'Four Winds' and his son John. See part four.

AM ABC Local Radio, Australia
Saturday, 24 June , 2006 Reporter: Peter Lewis

ELIZABETH JACKSON: For the past fortnight, hundreds of people living in remote rural communities in New Zealand's South Island, have been waiting for authorities to reconnect their power and their phones, which were cut by the worst snowstorm in 50 years. And as AM goes to air this morning, they're still waiting. Our New Zealand Correspondent, Peter Lewis, reports on the extraordinary patience and pluck of the people of South Canterbury.
PETER LEWIS: In many respects, they are New Zealand's forgotten tribe; the mostly farming families living in what's called the back country of South Canterbury. As the crow flies they're not far from Christchurch, but given the time it's taken to bring them back online, they're beginning to think they're living on another planet. Back on June the 12th, the lights and everything else run by electricity went out around Ashburton. Thanks to battery-powered radios they've heard that help was on its way, it's just taking a bit longer than anyone thought.

VOX POP: About three days ago we were told two or three days, and it's kind of been two or three days, and then the latest it's been, it could be up to a week.
VOX POP 2: Yesterday it was minus 13 and we had everything - diesel - frozen until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, so yeah, it's pretty cold.
PETER LEWIS: City slickers in Christchurch are even taking up a collection for the back country battlers, some hotels and motels at Timaru have even offered free accommodation and warm showers for those shivering and snowbound. As well meaning as all this is, what they really need is some coordinated national emergency relief.

Ashburton's Mayor Bede O'Malley.
BEDE O'MALLEY: We wonder whether the response coming from the north was probably a bit underestimated.
PETER LEWIS: Rupert Curd, from the rural lobby group - Federated Farmers - says it will be up to Wellington to deliver some long-term support to farming communities that traditionally are very reticent about asking for help.
RUPERT CURD: The balance sheets won't look very smart. And look, I'd say that there's going to be some issues out there that this country hasn't recognised yet. (sound of helicopter)
PETER LEWIS: And the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, was all ears.
JOHN: I'm John.
HELEN CLARK: How are you going John? (sound of helicopter) We need to work very closely with the local people here who I think have done a fantastic job, the rural relief trust people, fed farmers council, we need now the welfare support that can come in from central government to back that up. (sound of cows lowing)
PETER LEWIS: Farmer John O'Connor from nearby Fairlie told the Prime Minister that unless he gets a break form the weather and a break from the Government, his stock are going to be starving by August.
JOHN O'CONNOR: Oh it's good their response, I think they've come to an understanding now of what we're dealing with and you know, the issues that we've only got probably four weeks to six weeks of feed at the current levels of feeding.
PETER LEWIS: Fortunately for the farmers, the weather bureau is forecasting a break in the blizzard this weekend, though there is at least one silver lining to these clouds - it's the best opening to the ski season they've had here for years.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Peter Lewis reporting from New Zealand.

Farmers are spending large amounts on supplementary feed which will have they biggest impact on their income.

Fairlie was on the news again this time about the number of burst water pipes due to the constant minus 12 to 15 deg frosts.

Fine weather brings its own problems
Jul 2, 2006 One News

The snow that has blanketed parts of the South Island is finally melting but it is causing new problems for the battered region. Hundreds of water pipes are bursting, leaving plumbers scrambling and homes damaged. With more than 60 call-outs for burst pipes, Fairlie plumber has had to call in extra staff from out of town. "It's been pretty bad, the worst I've seen anyway. We had 33 phone call in two hours on Thursday." The region has seen the coldest June temperatures in 70 years. As the water freezes in such cold temperatures it expands and cracks the pipes. When the thaw comes that can mean water everywhere and this time the damage to some houses has been so bad people have had to move out. The plumbing problems have hit the same people who had been without power for several days.

Aug. 8 Tekapo. We have still snow around the house from last week.
There were some exceptionally hard frosts. Fabulous here today. Winter is so pretty with snow.

Snow storm was exceptional south of the Rakaia
Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 11:06 am  Press Release: NIWA
4 July 2006

NIWA says snow storm was exceptional south of the Rakaia.
The National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has released a preliminary report into the severity of the 12 June snow storm in Canterbury and North Otago. The report finds that the snow in the Canterbury plains and foothills south of the Rakaia was as deep as the July 1945 snow storm which produced very heavy snowfall down to sea level. In some places, last months snow was even deeper. NIWA estimated snow depths across the entire region and compared these to published information on six previous extensive snow storms in Canterbury.

North of the Rakaia River, snow depths were significant but not unprecedented.
Coastal plains: In the coastal plains areas (north of the Rakaia) the snow was much deeper than the 1992, 1973, or 1967 snow storms, except in Christchurch where the 1992 snow storm was much more severe.
Inland areas: Snow depths in inland areas north of the Rakaia River were similar to the 1973 storm. The 2006 storm did produce pockets of significantly deeper snow west of Darfield and towards the foothills which experienced conditions more similar to the 1945 storm.

South of the Rakaia River, snow depths were extreme in places.
Canterbury plains: This area experienced exceptional snow depths. The 12 June snow storm produced greater snow depths than the 1973 and 1967 snow storms. Snow depths throughout this area were similar to the 1945 snow storm and in some areas much deeper. Ashburton had the greatest maximum snow depth on record.
Inland areas: The area around Fairlie and Burkes Pass had similar snow depths to the 1973 storm, while areas further west into the Mackenzie Basin had significantly less snow than most previous notable snow storms with only 50cm being recorded at the Hermitage, as opposed to over 100cm in 2002, 1973, and 1967.
Background:  Method used in this report - We compared the 12 June event to six previous snow storms in Canterbury: 1945, 1967, 1973, 1992, 1992, and 2002.

We knew it was really, really cold and official records confirm it. Last month was the coldest June since 1972 - in parts of the South Island it was the coldest in half a century. By July 8th the snow is almost gone in Geraldine with sunny days and had no frost for the last 2 nights, so there has been a big melt.  Have had a good thaw these last two days so that is good after a month tomorrow good frosts up to minus 14 C degrees.

June's big chill breaks records
03 July 2006 by Kim Thomas

June delivered the coldest temperatures in 34 years, causing heartache for farmers and leaving snow-hit South Islanders with a multimillion-dollar clean-up bill. But plumbers called into fix burst pipes have found a silver lining in the cold snap as have the police, who say crime has fallen with the temperatures. The month had the coldest average temperature since 1972 and in parts of South Canterbury and North Otago the mean temperature was the lowest for the month in 50 years. Timaru and Fairlie also recorded their lowest mean temperature since records began with four and one degrees respectively. The country was hit by frequent blasts of cold southerly winds throughout June, contributing to the two heavy snow dumps. The cost of June's big snow storm is yet to be added up, but estimates of more than $70 million in lost production and crops for farmers and insurance claims have been suggested. Plumbers in Mid, North and South Canterbury were "totally run off their feet" and had been offering to pay Christchurch tradesmen's accommodation and premium rates to help get through the heavy workload. There was still plenty of snow in the Mackenzie District and in parts of South Canterbury frost covered the ground throughout the day. "As late as Thursday farmers (in Fairlie) were still doing snow-raking, making tracks in the snow to get all the stock down from the hills."  Nine inches of ice on the Fairlie Ice Skating Rink. The lowest temperature, -14degC, was recorded at Omarama on the 14th June and Fairlie on the 28th June.

"The reality is, in other parts of the world, people go about their business as normal but here everything just stops."

Suggested Reading: People were invited to submit their snow photos, and the ensuing volume proved a hit, selling 25,000 copies.

The Big Chill of June 2006. 144 photographs compiled by Jeff Grigor. Paperback, 64 pages, 1 Aug 2006, Penguin  book. $19.95.  7000 copies printed. This illustrated book recording the big chill of June 2006, drawn from photographs supplied by the people of Canterbury, is also a tribute to a community which rose to the challenge in a crisis. Friends and neighbours mucked in together. People sought out the elderly to lend a hand or supply hot meals. Families moved in with friends. Four-wheel drive clubs made their vehicles available and businesses supplied goods and services free of charge. Cover photo - the Anglican Church at Peel Forest. Another 3000 copies reprinted in August.

THE BIG CHILL: Just a month after Canterbury’s worst snow storm in 50 years, the chaos has been captured in a book. When publisher Jeff Grigor advertised for photographs of the June snow-storm he did not expect to be sent over 5000. But after ploughing through the pile, he picked the best 144, and turned them into a book. Grigor said collating the images was a "mammoth task" and a great tribute to amateur photography, with clever images published. People seized opportunities, capturing the damage done by the snow, and mainlanders’ "no worries" attitudes, he said. "It shows the resilience of people here."  "If you look at the contrast, there was a lack of moaning down here during the snow storm, compared to the outrage in Auckland."  By The Press Staff, The Timaru Herald Staff, Paul Gorman, John Keast.

Thank You

This webpage is a tribute to the districts and towns people who responded to the farmers needs - the bulldozer and grader drivers, snowrakers, lines men, road workers, down country farmers, town folk, NZ Defence Personnel, shop owners, butchers, friends, housewives, neighbours, the firms, the Councils, the transport drivers, the farmers who gave hay, the four wheel drive clubs, the Red Cross, the Civil Defence, and the reporters and all those I missed. You have been through this and will never forget the cold, the snow blindness, the shivering, the wet socks and gloves, and the stock. Thank you. It is a good feeling to work together. To the farmer and his wife and family remember the diesel beck (converted from woodburing to diesel oil) Rayburns and Agas with the wet back that heat the water and the house, dried the clothes in the hot water cylinder cupboard with the new born lamb, and always on for a hot drink and meal - and the open fire and kerosene lamp, can they ever be replaced in the foothills of South Canterbury?

Reference: South Canterbrians and the Timaru Herald - articles condensed.

The Cost!
Timaru Herald
9 June 2007

The big snow a year ago cost South Canterbury more than 150 million in property damage and economic loss. The insurance industry received 23,000 claims, paying out 52 million in claims throughout Canterbury the majority being in South Canterbury. Past experience shows claims make up about one third of the actual cost, uninsured losses a similar amount, and the remaining third was the economic impact on the community due to businesses being unable to function in their normal manner. The Timaru District Council spent $2 million dollars on road clearing. Parts of South Canterbury were without phone lines for three weeks.   Claims showed older homes sustained less damage. Newer homes were much more at risk than older houses, no snow straps, flatter roofs, no-lagged water, not even the same extent of insulation, making them susceptible to the freezing of water pipes.

We have a gas stove, Tilley lanterns and a television runs on batteries, and a fireplace to keep us warm. Our only problem at the moment might be to get enough wood. They are prepared to wait for the snow to thaw. Back of beyond - picturesque but isolated.

Otipua dairy looking towards the sea old mill backyard
More snow  Marchwiel
you tube CHCH

map depth

South Canterbury, New ZealandGenWeb Project 

After the storm the sun shines.