Gavin Eldridge of Stansborough Farm takes to the water on the lake created after a massive slip dammed the Kaiwhata River.

STEVE RENDLE
steve.rendle@age.co.nz

A massive slip has dammed the Kaiwhata River between Te Wharau and Homewood, east of Gladstone, forcing the closure of the road to the coast.

No residents were trapped and the route to Riversdale remained open on Wednesday night. But for some it almost doubles the distance to Masterton.

Marty Byl, manager of Kummerstein farm, surveys part of the lake created on the Kaiwhata River, between Te Wharau and Homewood.

Marty Byl, manager of Kummerstein farm said the slip, from a height of several hundred metres, happened on Sunday afternoon. But rocks could still be heard moving on Wednesday as the river continued to rise.

Little water appears to be making it through the natural dam, and the lake was rising at a rate of about 20cm an hour.

At mid-afternoon on Wednesday, Gavin Eldridge estimated the lake could rise about 2.5 metres before water started going over the dam.

Byl estimated the dam was around 30m high.

“If it goes, there will be a lot of water going downstream, and a lot of wreckage,” he said.

But he was hopeful the water goes soon as it is covering valuable grazing land.

“The grass will die.”