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Coromandel holiday weekend getaways ruined by floods, slips

Flooding in Matarangi after the Coromandel Peninsula was hit by heavy rain again overnight, from 28 January into 29 January, 2023

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Flooding, slip and major road damage have marred two consecutive holiday weekends for the Coromandel.
Photo: RNZ/ Veronica Schmidt

The Coromandel is facing yet another long weekend of cancelled hospitality bookings.

Last weekend, it had a subdued Auckland Anniversary weekend due to flooding in Auckland and the Coromandel itself being cut off due to the wet weather’s impact on its roads.

In the weeks prior, weather events such as ex-tropical Cyclone Hale also left the normally booming tourist hotspot eerily quiet.

Yesterday, Thames-Coromandel mayor Len Salt declared a pre-emptive declaration of emergency.

“We have an unfolding situation with vulnerable communities, vulnerable people and an emerging situation where we have the potential for land slips and further erosion that we need to manage,” he said.

With the myriad of weather events, Anchor Lodge manager Sue Gill-Devereux said the hospitality sector had barely functioned in Coromandel since Christmas.

Waitangi weekend looks to be nearly as quiet.

Gill-Devereux said she was initially fully booked, but “now I’ve had probably 80 to 90 percent of bookings cancel or postpone”.

But she believed it would reach closer to 100 percent cancelled or postponed bookings.

Gill-Devereux said other moteliers she had spoken to in the Coromandel were also empty.

The Coromandel had suffered so extensively, they were not making money this summer, she said.

“Our summer season is what gets us through until the next spring summer season,” Gill-Devereux said.

They needed to work hard at this time of year to make enough to keep them going for 12 months, she said.

Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Julie White said for moteliers it was important to make hay while the sun shined.

But when the sun did not come out, it meant they could not make revenue, she said.

White said some members she had spoken to in the region were reconsidering their future.

“It’s all just too hard after Covid and some are thinking about should they permanently shut,” she said.

Many hospitality businesses had previously reported that this summer was the first they were expecting bookings to resemble normality after Covid restrictions.

With a huge landslide cutting into State Highway 25A, a major highway in and out of Coromandel, the additional impact it has on hospitality also remains to be seen.

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