Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tornado Hits NGARNZ head quarters

Tornado hits NGARNZ     head quarters

Hot on "OUR" Newz this week

A deadly tornado whipped through our property at Whenuapai,  carving a trail of devastation
through our paddocks.  Once a much used and loved children's clubhouse,  lucky no one
was playing inside of here at this time.  The Macrocarpa and She-Oak Trees have been well
established here in our paddocks for generations.  These have been torn to pieces by the
deadly force we experienced here at our property on Thursday the 06th December.

The tornado carved its mark from one end of our paddocks and exited out from here onto Waimarie and also           Totara Road - taking with it all power/services etc.  Total devastation as unseen here in The Village. 

Dominating our NEWZ Edition this week - we highlight scenes from the devastation that was wreaked upon the Hobsonville and Whenuapai areas of West Auckland.  From here MY Story unfolds, along with pictures our our STREETS that you won't see on TV ONE:

Arriving home from Melbourne on Thursday after visiting my son for few days I received a  call from Jim to enlighten me that he would not be  at the airport to collect me.   hmmm  ??????   Phone call - "What Is this about"??Z??    Mystery unfolds and details read from Jim re the tornado that had just occurred and had devastated our neighbourhood.  

Amazement - and finally I clear customs and exit through those glass doors to a very wet, windy and bleak grey airport, abuzz with vehicles collecting and dropping off.  Along with the grey day here,  a mix of torrential and driving rain made the few available shelters outside fully taken.  Fighting my way through the dozens of heavily laden passengers  it really was like a dodgem circuit as I wielded my feisty over laden luggage cart along the tarmac accompanied by tumultuous overhead barrages of rain water constantly lashing me every which way.  

Jim enlightened me  that my next door neighbour was on her way to collect me.  Tania from our adjacent property just happened to be OUT of her home and was running errands  when the tornado struck.
NEXT thought - How to spot your neighbour???   This proved to be a MISSION and a difficult one as I busily eye-scanned the perimeter amidst the throng sheltered here.    From the opposite end of the full to capacity overhead shelter I spotted Tania flagging me down and we were OFFF.  We now prepared to attempt the exit from Akd International Airport.  We began to embark on our vehicle journey from here, the window wipers were working on full capacity mode due to the onslaught of torrential downpour being plummeted on our screen.  An attempt at clearing some small portion of vision to enable us to view
the road ahead was a tough job for the small wipers.  By now,  small pools of water were being collected on the edges on the motorway, and a place to avoid also. 
"I'm Coming Home" - Puriri Road Closed and
Cordoned Off - No getting through here
Travelling "CarSide" we were receiving incoming text messages, along with dozens of calls from neighbours/friends/locals and many fire and police reports all detailing the same message to
us - "Road Blocked"  "Deaths In The Area"  "Power Lines Down"  "Major Damage"  -  So What To Do and Where To Go?????  Amongst these notifications we received - we were told that
OUR Roads - The TWO ONLY entrances had been "Road Blocked Off".  No residents were able to get in or out of our immediate area.
Puriri Road - this is where Rob, myself and The "HEAVY" suitcase began our "OVERLAND journey" to enter into our back paddocks - Just seen to the very left at the back alongside the house is where our property begins

My son Rob residing at Massey proved to be our Port of Call,  and we sheltered at his flat awhile amidst steaming hot cups of coffee - well received indeed.   Incoming Newz Reports detailed to us the sad news of three lives lost in the Hobsonville Area.  Three construction workers had lost their lives whilst currently working on the New Building Projects at "The Point" at Hobsonville.
Waimarie/Totara road Junction
Whist the tv cameras were largely focused on "The
Point" and the damage to
The Old Airbase homes and the consequent Deaths in
the Area - Whenuapai
Village also suffered MAJOR damage.   Dozens of power poles and lines were ripped and torn asunder from their moorings.  These then tossed and writhed about our sealed roads like wild snakes.  Fences/trees and shelter belts picked up and tossed about
like toys

Sitting at the Massey residence Tania and I began to formulate plans as to what strategy to adopt from here??   - How to Get Home and - Can We Get Home.    - Were We Even Allowed Home?     A friend living  down Totara Road,  whilst walking the local streets,  went to work quizzing the many police now on duty in our neighbourhood streets, and reported back to Tania and I the news - You Are NOT going home tonight -   "A NO GO ZONE"  had been duly set up and we now lived inside of this "NO GO ZONE"

Waimarie/Totara Road Junction - Police Blocks and Cordons in place - No Foot
Traffic - All Turned Around

Definite NO GO ZONE in place - Lines down everywhere - this is the
corner junction of Waimarie/Totara Roads

 - The bulk of the damage in Whenuapai Village happened to be right here in the very heart of our street now locked inside of this newly cordoned off area.  No foot traffic or otherwise allowed here!!  

Power lines down everywhere - smashed out onto the tarmac
Linesmen kept very busy here in Waimarie Road

Power lines don't quite look the same displayed out on the tarmac - at least 20
poles  were down and needed to be replaced - Waimarie/Totara/Puriri Roads

Puriri Road from the other side - Police blocking off roads
and turning residents back

This information reported back to us and son Rob decided we would take a short drive into our now tornado devastated area.  Entering via the back  Abandoning the small vehicle, looking around we soon realised this car was not going to be solitary for too long,  many others were now joining in our new found parking posse.  All looking to escape the cordoned off areas and enter into their homes also, via means not normally utilised to gain access.

Rob with The Offender - One HEAVY Suitcase -  Scary
standing Underneath Downed Power Lines and taking it all in

Our plan in place we exited the vehicle along with the heavy luggage case and we stepped it out OVERLAND, through paddocks and long grasses.  The entrances over the several property blocks made easy by the newly torn-apart fences.  Our entrance into our property was with the compliments of one of our fences that had been taken out via the weighty tree branches now perched erratically across the downed fencing wire.  Wow taking a moment to view the damage here - major - this, just one of our shelter belted paddocks lined with She Oaks now looking in a sad state.     we did not need to climb the fences as we had at first anticipated, as the fences were downed for our arrival.
Now, an EASY step-over into our paddocks

NEW CONCEPTS -"Travelling OVERLAND" - the Offending Set of Wheels Along For
 the HAUL
- and a HAUL it most certainly was

Travelling "OVERLAND",  the two tiny small wheels on the suitcase surprisingly handled
the long grasses in our paddocks amazingly well,  and on entering into our "Middle Earth"
amongst our Feijoa trees,  the turf here was now changing somewhat dramatically. 
Our progress was slowly but gradually being hampered and was becoming Hard Work,  judging by the comments from son Rob, as he lugged the case laboriously amongst it all.
hmmm that suitcase was becoming mighty HARD WORK by now - Deemed OVER
the allowable limit on exiting Melbourne airport,  this due to an additional incoming
item required for husband JIM -  @#_+--@#  The shelter belt damage amazing, 
peering through the fence here we noticed two of our neighbours cars had huge tree
trunks resting on top of their roofs - both cars duly written off

Rob taking a Much Needed Rest sitting on top
of THE OFFENDER - it really does have some uses!!!
 The more progress we made,
the damage was fast becoming more evident to us.  The tornado had ripped right through from
one side of our grassed
paddocks and had duly carved
its mark from one end at the tip
of our property block down to
the end, venting its fury throughout these age-old oaks, now standing shredded and scarred,  before exiting out
again and causing MAJOR damage along the junction of Waimarie Rd/Totara Rd.    For many many years in Whenuapai Village an Iconic Norfolk Pine
has stood untouched,  this has now been capped and lay smashed onto the tarmac also. 


Arriving at long last with the view of our home in sight,  we now followed the drone of the chain saw close by and were greeted by husband Jim busy at work attempting to clear One of our many fences that had been smashed by the weight of the overhanging tree branches. 
"Chain Saw Drone" has now become the norm here in our village as the locals attempt to clear many of the trees that did not survive the holocaust that was bestowed upon them. 

"She-Oaks" have had their trunks stripped, laid bare and
exposed to the elements and left dried and peeling like Old

This large OAK right across the road from our property -
this OAK has been growing here in our Village for generations, again another "ICONIC"
tree here - right outside of The Whenuapai Village Hall - The depth of the hole that this excursion has made is extremely deep - it was completely ripped out of its socket

Strolling to view the damage here in our neighbourhood  the homes had remained intact. but the many surrounding greenhouses that border our property block not so lucky.  Panes of glass lifted and turfed asunder - Steel structures completely torn from their moorings and tossed aside. Pictured below, just ONE of the local greenhouses, the property owners here used to grow Korean vegetables - and there did used to be glass panes in place here!!! 

The roof completely dislodged and is now resting amongst the paddock grasses

The larger glass house picture below suffered major structural damage and will also be written off.

Both of these will need to be complete bulldoze jobs.  Due to the large scale of
well established shelter belt trees here, 
we were now faced with many many
months of very expensive clean up work.  Our trees are generations old and the damage from ONE fallen oak is a
MAJOR - we have had many of these toppled and torn apart.

Malcolm Hahn Reserve and One of the local
residents fences torn aside by the demise of the large pine

If you know Whenuapai Village at all,  this Norfolk Pine feature Centrepiece here in this below pic has been well established inside of our Village for generations.  This is an Iconic Landmark of our Area.
Norfolk Pine duly topped and cast out onto the tarmac

This house borders onto the park which borders onto our property also - the path
was carved right through here

Strolling up Waimarie Road and taking in the damage
Many trees uprooted and tossed aside

Everywhere I looked total deforestation - trees yanked by their roots and tossed aside - branches completely
torn off their trunks - littering all sides of our roads

Linesmen working on the junction of Waimarie and Totara Rds
Road Block Detours in place
Inside of our immediate village area the power
had been knocked out
with smashed lines
evident up and down
 the streets here. 
Linesmen busy clearing
up and cleaning the damage.  On Friday
night,  this was now
TWO days without
power, and the smell
 of the rotting
produce in my fridge/freezer testament
to this. 


Rob has some great friends,  and it was not long
before the boys arrived back here with a generator for
us,  great to be able to keep the fridge and freezer going
for that little bit longer
  Memories now seemed all
too real,  as months ago we had a home tidy up in an endeavour to rid ourselves
 of long stored clutter. 
Amongst the items to leave
us and deemed to be clutter  remnants of some rather
nice candles.  ???  @ #__*@#  ????   Now as
 these thoughts came vividly flooding back,  we scouting around on fast impending DARKNESS as the the
evening drew to a close;  realising we had been tooo busy to think about what
form of lighting would be required?   BBQ dinner by candlestick was a reality and it really was quite romantic.  Perching together on the couch with only candlelight displaying itself and NO cell phones/services etc etc  leaves one wondering what this is all about???    Conversation
of the days events soon took us into the smaller hours and a good sleep was had. 

A NEW MNG has arrived, and it is now  Friday mng -  The stillness of our neighbourhood shattered only by the constant drone of the many chain saws being
put to very good use     Our NGARNZ Question - WHAT DOES A GRAVEL RIDER
WISH FOR XMAS - THIS XMAS our Answer may well just be  "A MACMASSIVE
Chain Saw".   
News pouring in from neighbours etc to inform us that services could be expected to be
resumed in another couple of days.  We have many produce/flower growing operations
in my area,  and this news was not well received.  Running automated and computer generated high-tech growing operations requires the power for the total and optimal
running of all electronic operations.  WE KNOW - We ran and operated a greenhouse growing operation here in Whenuapai at least eight years ago. 

Driving Out Of Home base - One Lane Traffic is now flowing - WE ARE ON THE MOVE!!!
Today - SUNDAY and I am able to drive out of my road

With emergency services working 24/7 around the clock  we were very fortunate and extremely pleased when the power did come on later on the Friday evening.  Quite quick
considering the devastation wreaked upon us all here.  Jim and myself on summing
up the thousands of dollars worth of damage to our property and with most of it
OUTSIDE of any possible form of insurance claim,  we decided to call upon our Ride
Group Members to see whether any had a few spare hours or even available chain
saws to form a gang of workers.    Several of our adjacent neighbours also took this opportunity to enlighten us that they wished for our large trees to be chopped down, as
they now viewed these as a threat to their homes. 

The mail was issued and to our surprise
the first in to assist us  Malcolm,  who
owns a business Mode Lawns.  Leaving
his business for the day he made his
way here to assist, and we were
extremely surprised at the knowledge
and skill displayed on the end of that big chain saw.  Well done Malcolm,   and
many thanks.

I would NEVER have guessed Malcolm could
wield a chain saw in THIS fashion !! I
guess you don't know EVERYTHING about a Gravel Rider!!!

Mails had been steadily pouring in from our Ride Group Members living from around the country, and some even from overseas.  Very well received from our people and much appreciated, such very kind thoughts.  Whilst many lived tooo far out of area,  Saturday mng  was a very busy one for us,  with a GANG of workers incoming to our aid. 


Joining Malcolm on the Friday was Dougie - and then joined by Ian.  The Saturday morning's brigade was made up of Al,  Mike,  Steve,  Neil and Rachel,  Gordon,  Oliver,  Koray,  Dean and Bev, Paul to pay his respects.  Many thanks to all who mailed in to us with their messages of support also,  whilst you could not join us,  your thoughts to us
very much appreciated,  and leaves us with very good thoughts of the Ride Group Members we have amongst us.

SATURDAY has arrived and Jim and I struggle from our NEST - not quite refreshed due to the hectic events of the now past couple of days -  My thoughts  -   I HAVE TO GET OUT OF BED!!

A GRAVEL RIDER WILL BE ON MY DOORSTEP   -  they might think they have come to the wrong house -  trashed outdoors and the occupants look trashed also  -   eeeeks  some serious bathroom time is definitely needed here folks  :)  It really is all in good humour,  so dressed and tidy  our first Gravel Rider aka Work Detailer has arrived -  Al  -  is THAT YOU  - I really did not recognise you behind those nice looking sunnies.   From Al - Mike and so forth.   If you think the FAMOUS Paddington Station is busy,  well   here at my property   it seriously was busy.

TEAM Neil and Gordon - Hard At It
One after the other vehicles came and vehicles went.  Amidst incoming Gravel Riders  -  (Work Detail Crew)  and dealing with hunting and tracking down  the local TreeScape crew someplace or other up the street,  arm twisting to get them to mulch OUR massive amount of foliage,  but duly enlightened to the fact that AS YOUR FOLIAGE IS NOT ON THE VERGE  the council will not mulch it.    NEXT on the list,    MORE incoming Work Detailers,   NEXT organising with local neighbours to assist with trailers to cart foliage away.  YIKES  AL has appeared at my doorstep and has duly informed me that my work crew are in much need of  sustenance, "SUE I WOULD LIKE DEVONSHIRE SCONES PLEASE"!!!  (smacks of Waikaretu here)   IN to the Prado and off to Westgate (local shopping centre)  and back with more supplies  -  fridge/freezers emptied out due to NO POWER.


TEAM Rachel/Bev  whizzing it around the property on the DR  -  Great job ladies
The boys appreciated it very much

NEXT  TEAM RACHEL/BEV  on the trusty DR  scooting around the property with drink bottles in tow  (Great minds really do think alike and Rachel came up with an ingenious plan to name each drink bottle due to exceptionally thirsty Work Detail crew) 

THESE TWO here really know how to spin a great joke
Things were now seriously heating up down in those paddocks now.  DR off again and
with the bikkie box.

ME - just back from Westgate aka shopping crew carting supplies into the house and
then the first of my Work Detailers arrives into the house for some lunch.   The crew
swings into action and Team Rachel and Bev busy "CAN I HAVE YOUR ORER PLEASE"
-  :NEXT" -   fresh bread slicing operation combined with salad and vegie slashings - slip slap slop the lids placed on the top of those mega wattie sammies and the crew were fed
in minutes.  Bev stirring,  pouring and   offering  -  we really do make one seriously good TEAM. 

The NGARNZ TEAM really makes an EXCELLENT TEAM - WEll done and many thanks everyone - If you had seen the place before the Gravel Riders took charge
of the situation,  well it really looks a lot better now - I think we need to hire this crew out - TALENTS WASTED!!!!
The NGARNZ TEAM putting their backs into it -  Have to take your hat off to THIS TEAM EFFORT

GO BEV - AND SHE REALLY DID  -  Those Branches were literally
flying up onto the top of that pile
Oliver is ON Chain Duty and makes light work of it

Those trees weighed a tonne - but the crew dragged them tirelessly onto the back
of trailers and hauled them around the yard and onto the bonfire piles

and......  hiding in the long grasses metres only
away from the ACTION of our Work Force
a newborn baby Pukeka Chick - this has
capped off one excellent weekend
NEW LIFE has been born into my paddocks
A very big thanks to all who assisted either by way of fantastic LABOUR and excellent TEAM
work to which we have come to personally know here
at NGARNZ  h q    -  also to those
who have mailed in their messages of support - thanks everyone


Rock-on Xmas 2012 and
a New and very exciting SEason of 2013
- ADVENTURES -   C You all there!!!

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