This winter has been notable for the rain, however floods have been a feature in our area for the past century particularly since urban development. Regular flooding is recorded throughout the 1930s on the Russell to Whangarei Road, with Russell being cut off on numerous occasions. In the 1940s the road was in such a bad state, that the Automobile Association recommended “travellers not make the trip unless absolutely necessary”. Eventually, the County Council invested in major stormwater works including replacing the Russell Road bridge “which had been wrecked completely”.

The Russell Township itself is very low lying and has also suffered from significant flooding in the past. In 2007 there was major flooding in the town and many will remember local resident Clive Arlidge taking to a his boat and joining other kayakers down York Street.

With all this recent rain we have escaped fairly lightly here in the Bay in terms of flooding. Much of this is down to past flooding and the remedial works done by respective councils over the last century or so. In Russell, we have Janet Planet to thank, as she has tirelessly championed the stormwater improvements with council to mitigate the risk of flooding in our town centre.

Unfortunately, due to the impact of climate change, we can expect more severe weather events in the future.

Complete photo/panorama mounted on card, poor trim but good condition 12x5cm. Subject: Russell floods 8.45 6th June 1925. Central Russell looking along York Street to Maiki Hill.