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Damage to State Highway 35 Confounds Healthcare

John Campbell

21 Jan 2023

Matakāoa's climate challenges featured on 1News

The intersecting challenges of climate change and covid were covered by One News Reporter John Campbell this week.

"We've got people who can't even live in their own homes anymore because it's not safe; they literally can't get to them because the roads are dropping out," Ngata said.

The town is pretty, but like so much of State Highway 35, jammed between hills and sea - you can only get out if you fly.

Ngata works for Manaaki Matakaoa - they provide healthcare when storms are bad.

When the big storms hit, they lose roads, power, internet access and cell phone coverage.

Ngata and her team are dealing with a Covid outbreak among locals - some of them elderly.

"And if they get really sick, and you need to get them to the hospital, and the road is closed, what do you do?" Campbell asked.

"If the road's closed, there's nothing we can do, particularly in weather like this," Ngata said.

State Highway 35 is a coastal hub of communities like Te Araroa - none of them can be reached by any other road.

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