May 2021 Flood Recovery

Canterbury experienced a significant rainfall event between 29–31 May 2021. Within the Ashburton District, 540mm of rainfall was recorded at the ECan Mount Somers weather station (approx. 800m above msl) with 185mm of rainfall being recorded at the ECan Hinds Plains weather station (approx. 90m above msl) over the course of the three day event.

This rainfall resulted in the highest flows on record in the Upper Hinds and Ashburton/Hakatere river catchments. The most significant impact of this flood event has been felt on the Ashburton/Hakatere and Hinds Rivers. There has been extensive out of river flooding, significant stopbank damage and berm erosion and major on farm damage. The Ashburton/Hakatere River SH1 bridge was also damaged causing disruption to travel around the South Island.

We are working alongside key agencies and partners to support our community’s recovery from this event.

Latest Updates

ECan issue warning for Ashburton river

Environment Canterbury have issued a warning for the Ashburton River. Heavy rain has been falling along the main divide overnight as forecast, and is expected to continue throughout the day today before easing off tomorrow morning.

Applications open for $4 million Canterbury Flood Recovery Fund

Mid Canterbury farmers and landowners affected by May’s one in 200-year rainfall event are being encouraged to apply for support from a $4 million flood relief fund.

Three community meetings scheduled to learn about flood recovery progress

Council is hosting three community meetings on Tuesday July 13 at Greenstreet, Winchmore and Mt Somers to provide an overview of the flood recovery progress. Speakers from organisations including Council, Environment Canterbury and Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust will outline responses so far, and work identified for the future.

Affected by the floods? Apply for help from the Mayoral Relief Fund

Property owners hit by the May floods are being encouraged to apply for money from the Mayoral Relief Fund.


After the flooding – insurance and cleaning up

It may not be safe to return home even when the floodwaters have receded. Only return home after Civil Defence and emergency services have told you it is safe to do so.

In all cases approach your insurance company prior to disposing of any goods or carrying out any restoration on your house.

If your home, car or contents have been damaged by the floods, take photos before you remove or repair anything, and let your insurance company know as soon as possible.

If you need to make your home safe, sanitary, secure and weather tight, record the work done and keep copies of any bills.

If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.

Your insurance company will let you know what you need to do next and how to make a claim.

If you believe you have residential land damage from flooding or storms, you can contact either your insurer or the Earthquake Commission (EQC) to discuss EQC Cover.

Learn more about flood and storm damage at

EQC have developed this guidance for people who have experienced damage to their farms or rural properties following a natural disaster. For more information email or call 0800 DAMAGE (326 243)

Ashburton District Council building inspectors are available to conduct free inspections on any homes or businesses who have sustained floodwater damage. To arrange an inspection, call the Council on 03 307 7700.

Please take into consideration the direction of the wind and be aware of your neighbours and nearby traffic. Burn well away from roads and put out traffic signage for vehicles where necessary.

You CAN burn trees and other greenwaste, provided you meet these requirements:

  • Stockpile the greenwaste and only burn it when it is dry
  • Properties over 2ha in size in a clean air zone may only burn between 1 September and 30 April
  • Guidelines for clean air burning are followed see here for more detail
  • Check that Fire and Emergency does not have any burning restrictions in place, see

  • Fencing materials that cannot be reused or recycled can be buried on-farm or taken to your local council’s transfer station.
  • Silage wrap should be collected for recycling (e.g. Plasback) or taken to your local council’s transfer station disposal.

If you’re thinking about doing some works or are clearing away heavy debris that may drag into the earth, check who can help identify where cables, pipes and other utility assets are, in and around the proposed dig site.

Financial and accommodation support

Extra financial support is available to people affected by the Canterbury flooding. Everyone’s situation is different, and there is a range of help available.

Applications are being accepted and considered to support individuals and families with essential costs of daily life not covered by insurance or other funds. The fund will help where an immediate need exists. The fund is also available to help support local businesses whose activities were restricted by the floods.

In order to apply for a grant, you must complete an Emergency Relief Fund application form available from the Council website here Emergency Relief Fund | Ashburton DC.

Civil Defence Payments are available for people who have been affected by the flooding. You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for a Civil Defence Payment. In most cases it doesn't matter what your income is or what assets you have. These can help with:

  • Emergency food, clothing and bedding if yours has been damaged or destroyed.
  • Accommodation costs if you have been evacuated and are staying in accommodation such as a motel, hotel or temporary rental accommodation.
  • Loss of income due to an inability to work caused by the flooding.
  • Payment if you have evacuees staying with you in places such as a private home, marae or community centres.

Call Work and Income on 0800 752 102 for more information or go here to the website

Inland Revenue has a range of support in place for affected individuals and families, customers and businesses affected by the floods. The Inland Revenue website also has information on managing financial difficulty and debt, see here for more information or phone 0800 473 566.

If you’ve been impacted by the floods and are struggling to deal with your tax or payments, please contact your tax agent or accountant.

If you have missed filing returns or are late on payments, you can ask Inland Revenue to grant relief from penalties.

To assist farmers and growers Inland Revenue are exercising discretion in allowing early withdrawal from the income equalisation scheme.

If you rent your property and it has been damaged by the recent severe weather in Canterbury, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible. If you are the tenant or landlord of a rental property, you can find information here on your rights and obligations or phone 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

Details about the Canterbury Flood Recovery Fund being managed by MPI can be found here Dealing with floods | MPI | NZ Government

Who should I contact?

Council services, welfare or additional information
Ashburton District Council: Phone 03 307 7700 or email

It’s normal to feel upset and physically drained after events like this. You’re not alone in feeling this way, and you don’t have to cope on your own.

If you need support or advice, or have feelings of anxiety, stress, prolonged fear, hopelessness or anger, or you just need to talk with someone, you can text or phone 1737 to speak to a trained counsellor.

If you have health questions, phone Healthline on 0800 611 116. Healthline is staffed by experienced registered nurses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have questions about your child or baby’s health or wellbeing, phone PlunketLine on 0800 933 922 to speak to a Plunket nurse. PlunketLine runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Your GP is also able to help and will help connect you to necessary support services. Free appointments are available for all people living in Canterbury who have been affected by the recent floods, where the reason for the consultation is flood-related.

For the full list of local services click here

MPI Canterbury Flood Support

  • Clean-up support: Do you need help cleaning up flood damage or debris? If you haven’t already, register here for Clean-Up Support
  • Can you help a flood-affected farmer or grower? If you haven’t already, register here for Offers of Assistance
  • Stock feed support is available if you are worried you might run low, call 0800 FARMING or 0800 327 646 or visit Dealing with floods | MPI | NZ Government

Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust

Rural support Trusts have local people who are trained to offer assistance and support. Their help is free and confidential. Phone 0800 RURAL HELP (0800 787 254) email or visit

Rural industry body contacts


Residents of properties affected by flooding who wish to preform water testing of their private water supplies are encouraged to contact a water testing laboratory. Laboratories that supply this service in Canterbury are:

  • Eurofins Rolleston phone 03 343 5227
  • Hills Chemistry phone 03 377 7176
  • Analytica Laboratories phone 03 662 9357

Environment Canterbury

Environment Canterbury staff and contractors are in the field assessing damage and responding to priority issues throughout the region, including Ashburton. The latest information for the Canterbury Flood recovery can be found here Canterbury flood recovery | Environment Canterbury ( Please call ECan on 0800 324 636 for further information.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Phone: 0800 KAITAHU or email:

Te Puni Kōkiri – Ministry of Māori Development

Te Waipounamu Christchurch Regional Office Phone: 0800 875 839 or email:

Pacific Support

Ministry for Pacific Peoples – Christchurch Regional Office Phone: 03 366 7202 or email:

Whanau Ora Providers

Etu Pasifika phone 0800 388 727 (support contact - Mr Antonio Filimoehala)
Fale Pasifika O Aoraki phone 027 321 6149 (support contact - Ms Vicky Cunningham)

Ethnic Communities

For support, call 0800 656 656 or email

Disability Support

For support and referral please contact CCS Disability Action at 0800 227 2255

Text Alert