Westland has lifted its local State of Emergency as weather conditions eased overnight and into today.

Mayor Helen Lash thanked Westland residents for their patience and co-operation while the local State of Emergency was in place.

“Our main priority was and always is the safety of our people – our tourists, locals and emergency service personnel. Without knowing which way the weather was going to go, it was important that we had everything in place to be able to react immediately if needed.”

Lash also thanked Emergency Management teams and the Minister for Emergency Management Mark Mitchell who spent time in the Hokitika operations centre yesterday.

“We have an incredible, tight-knit team of individuals who put the needs of our community ahead of their own, and who work together like a well-oiled machine.”

State Highway 6 between Ross and Makaorora reopened this morning at 9am. The highway closed overnight at the request of Westland Civil Defence.

The response of the public to the road closure was positive, West Coast Emergency Management group controller Te Aroha Cook.

“We appreciate that it may have taken some people by surprise and caused some inconvenience. However, we’ve had very positive feedback from locals and tourists alike who have universally understood that safety is paramount.”

She said that it had been a “good test” of the region’s emergency response activities, and that it had instilled confidence that teams can and will be effective when needed in the future.

MetService has lifted all weather warnings for the Westland, Grey and Buller regions.