Flooding and heavy winds from ex-cyclone Gita have swept through New Zealand orchards overnight, during the start of the season for key apple growing regions.
Hundreds of emergency callouts were made during the storm, throughout the northern part of New Zealand’s South Island. For fruit growers in the region, flood waters and winds could cause concern at the start of the season.
Heath Wilkins from Golden Bay told Asiafruit this morning that the flood waters did “small but significant damage,” sweeping away three to four hectares of their high producing dwarf apple trees.
Wilkins added that his thoughts go out to fellow orchardists who were harder hit.
“On a whole, we haven’t suffered major damage, and many of our orchards have had little to no damage,” he said. “We hope there are no more surprises Mother Nature throws at us.”
Dozens of schools across the country have been closed and power outages are reported throughout thousands of homes.
The New Zealand military has also been deployed to towns where storm damage is anticipated to be the worst.
Last week, the cyclone passed through the Pacific Island of Tonga, causing widespread destruction on the main island, significantly damaging fruit trees and agricultural crops.
Wilkins said that Golden Bay will wait a few days before they resume picking.