Marae to open up for Nelson evacuees

By Te Ao Māori News

More than 2500 people have been evacuated from their homes as the massive forest fire, which started on Tuesday, continues to burn.

Overnight, evacuations took place in Wakefield with Police and the NZ Defence Force security patrolling the affected areas.

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The Pigeon Valley fire continued to burn actively overnight. Nelson Tasman Civil Defence says over 100 personnel worked hard throughout the night to fight the fire and create a control line with fire breaks now right along the perimeter.

There is still large amounts of unburnt vegetation within the control line.

For the Walters Bluff fire, crews remained at Walters Bluff overnight after a fire broke out around 3pm above Iwa Road yesterday. The fire is still under control and Fire and Emergency crews are there today monitoring.

Civil Defence confirmed that residents in the rural areas east of Wakefield who are outside the evacuation zone will have managed access from 8am to 6pm today.

The New Zealand Defence Force will be running escorted convoys through the portion of SH6 that runs through Wakefield township.  The Highway remains closed for all other traffic, which would continue to use the signposted detour through the Motueka Valley.

Police ask residents to please respect all evacuated areas and cordons, they say that nobody should be travelling in or around evacuated areas who do not have a specific purpose in the area.

Residents can stay up to date by following the Nelson Tasman Civil Defence social pages:

During this morning's press conference, Acting District Commander for Tasman District Zane Hooper said that local iwi met yesterday and have opened up local marae for people who don't have anywhere to stay.

He also thanked the community for the help and support provided, especially during the evacuation process.

Tasman mayor Richard Kempthorne says the primary purpose is keeping people safe first, and then property safe. He adds that the fire can change very quickly, "If the wind changes, it can change very quickly."

If you need help:

  • If it is urgent or you feel in danger, Police advise to ring 111.
  • Nelson Tasman Civil Defence: 03 543 7290 
  • Tasman District Council: 03 543 8400
  • Nelson District Council: 03 546 0200