Kaiwhata Landslide Dam


We’re at the Kaiwhata River in the Wairarapa which is just south of Riversdale. A landslide has come down
into the river, blocked the river and it’s formed quite an extensive lake
upstream in the valley. So the lake has flooded farmland, the road is submerged
that’s Kaiwhata road there which has been closed, so there’s no access for those
residents. It flooded a wool shed and then two weeks after the landslide
dam formed there was quite a lot of rain and the lake rose 1.2 meters and it
reached the top of the dam, and at the same time the downstream face was starting to slump. There was seepage – water coming out on
the downstream face of the dam the day before, and then the dam burst. You can see
that the the rivers taken most of the material of the dam away, there’s still a
little bit remaining around the bottom of the landslide. That sent a huge volume of
water, possibly about a million cubic metres of water rushing down the river
within a period of about half an hour we think. You can see on the sides of the
river how high the water got. Luckily the bridge survived but you can see all the
debris that was carried down with the water and stuff on the bridges that got stuck as the water went through

2 thoughts on “Kaiwhata Landslide Dam

  1. The scarp on the cliff side of the river downstream from the landslide, post flood, looks like the tsunami scar on Rakata from krakatau… Im guessing it's formed via a similiar mechanism?

  2. This could happen in Ruatahuna and that´s why the government should pay 12 million for a second radio station there so that people could be warned.

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