Sundaise Patrons Evacuated After Flooding

Flooding forced the evacuation of about 200 patrons of the March 10-12 Sundaise festival in Dickey Flat in New Zealand’s Waitawheta area and army and emergency services were called in.

Torrential rain caused the Waitawheta River, which borders the campground, to break its banks on the night of March 11. The third day of the music art and sustainability festival was canceled.

Sundaise Festival
– Sundaise Festival

Patrons reported that the water rapidly reached up to their chests. Tents collapsed and vehicles got bogged. One told Radio New Zealand attendees had to help others from being swept downstream.

According to Hauraki district Civil Defence controller Steve Fabish, there were no immediate injuries and all patrons were accounted for.

Some authorities expressed annoyance the festival was not canceled before patrons arrived, given the weather forecast. Organiser Matt Griffiths said that before the river broke its banks, the festival had already closed the two campsites closest to it and moved patrons to higher ground.

An hour before evacuation, patrons were advised over the PA system to move to higher ground. He told TheBay Of Plenty Times, “We implemented our flood evacuation procedure for around 200 people and this went all according to plan.”