Cyclone Gabrielle has created a state of turmoil across New Zealand's  North Island, causing businesses to shut down, flights in and out of Auckland to be cancelled, and a national state of emergency declared. 

The impact of the storm can be seen every corner of the North Island, as roads are closed, major flooding and widespread power outages still effecting the community. During these unprecedented times, Ventia's number one priority has been ensuring our people and their families are safe. 

Our Critical Risk Protocols, risk evaluation, stop work for safety and checking in on each other has been fundamental during this time of uncertainty, as our teams continue to operate to keep critical infrastructure networks functioning and keeping roads clear for the North Island community. 
With safety top of mind, we profile some of the work of the Ventia Transport team who are managing land slips, flooding, and hundreds of fallen trees, to ensure the safety and well-being of communities  in the affected areas.



In Thames-Coromandel, where Ventia manages the entire local road network, Kirk Bracey, Project Director for Thames-Coromandel, says, "People often ask me what Ventia does, and one of our specialties is keeping transport networks resilient during extreme weather events. Keeping drivers safe and roads open during this type of weather is our top priority."

The enormity of the task is not lost on Bracey, who adds: "In just 10 days, we received more rain than we typically do in all of July - which is typically our wettest month - and you can imagine the operational challenges that come with keeping things open." The Ventia teams, who normally handle 70 requests for services from the public, are now managing over 437. 

Mayor Len publicly thanked Ventia for it efforts, stating:

I'd like to express my thanks and that of the community to our Council roading contractor Ventia and all the sub-contractors pulled in to help - for the incredible job that they have done, not just in getting the Thames Coast Road open in amazing time, but for all the other work they are doing in getting the slips cleared. The community is deeply grateful for all their efforts.

Kirk and the Ventia teams remain humble, taking the recognition in stride. Kirk says, "It's what we're here for, it's our job. We're a part of this community, it's our family and friends."


Auckland West

The Ventia team have also been working to help  residents of Auckland West, which has been the most impacted area in Auckland. The effects of Cyclone Gabrielle have caused catastrophic flooding, landslides, fallen trees, downed powerlines, and roads that have become fast-moving rivers.

Keeping communities safe and connected is our number priority when over 100 households in Waitākere were cut off and isolated due to an unstable road caused by a slip. After the evacuation, Ventia quickly moved in to stabilise the road and establish a temporary road, allowing access for the community.

We've been responding to similar call outs all over the network with closures continuing to fluctuate due to road underslips, overslips, and slips that are still moving. Emergency response crews have worked throughout the night to address the situation to keep critical lanes open for emergency services. 

"Slips are occurring above the road and land on the road blocking it, as well as slips below the road eroding the edge of the road, and in some cases destabilising the entire road making the road impassable. 

"Our crews are clearing the slips that have blocked the roads as well as stabilising the slips below the road to prevent further erosion until a permanent repair can be made," explains Vic Hensley, NZ Transport General Manager.

 "We are continuously improving our emergency response and are focused on minimising risk for our people, and keeping the community safe" he stated.

Hensley also emphasised the importance of collaboration in such trying times. "Our specialty is working collaboratively with Auckland Transport and other agencies, collaboration at times like this is more critical than ever." 

The Ventia New Zealand team continue to clear debris and making sure roads networks are ready, and formulating plans for major slip repairs.


In the Northland region, which bore the initial brunt of the cyclone, Ventia crews are working to keep as many roads open as possible. These crews not only manage road damage but also take care of debris and vegetation control to ensure communities stay connected. 

Contract Manager for Far North Region, Dave Collins, explains, 'We're dealing with a large number of downed trees blocking roads all over the network, so our teams are really pushing to keep things open. There is a lot of work to do but we're here to help the community.'

Despite the challenges, the Ventia crews remain determined to persevere and provide assistance.

 Most of the weather has passed, but now the cleanup and repair begins.