Friday afternoon saw widespread power cuts due to a tree colliding with a powerline on Lake Hāwea-Albert Town Rd. The tree fell at 12:19pm, but failed to completely knock over the powerline. The powercut affected a large range of areas, from Dublin Bay to Lake Hāwea Town and Flat, Makarora, Luggate and more.
These townships were left struggling without power for over five hours. Hawea Store and Kitchen told the Wānaka Sun that their business was disrupted, saying “We were absolutely affected without the use of eftpos, our point of sale system and general power to operate the kitchen and equipment.” The store notes that “our customers were very understanding” during this time of disruption. Whilst a store can resort to more traditional cash methods, power cuts can be absolutely detrimental to businesses that serve hot and cold food, alongside basic functioning like lights and security cameras.
The disruption of the power line also caused the road to be blocked off for several hours, cutting cars coming and going between Albert Town and Wānaka from using the usual intersection on State Highway 6 and 84. Instead, cars were diverted via Aubrey Road, causing massive queues of traffic on both ends. Around 4pm traffic was back to normal although the power cut still continued for another two hours in the impacted areas. The windy weather was causing trees to fall in all kinds of places, with one even disturbing the parking lot of the Wānaka waterfront.