2016 Gisborne Blackout

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Template:Use New Zealand English The 2016 Gisborne Blackout refers to the massive electrical blackout in Gisborne, on 12 December 2016. It started at 8:30 am local time, with most areas of Gisborne regaining power by 7:00 pm local time 13 December 2016. It affected some 50,000 people in and around the city as well as the surrounding towns with the Gisborne and Northern Hawkes Bay regions.

Immediate effect

Power went off at around 08:30 am local time on 12 December 2016 affecting all of Gisborne in New Zealand.


The cause of the blackout was due to a light plane crash 30 km north of Wairoa after the pilot, while topdressing, crashed into the Hangaroa sub-station,[1] the city's main transmission station, severing the main line and killing both himself and the loader onboard.[2]


Due to the power outage, many public services and business operations were disrupted:[3]

  • all traffic lights were off
  • over 100 generators were brought in to supply power to essential places including some age cared facilities, fast food restaurants and select petrol stations
  • generators were also brought in to supply power to all the phone transmission towers as telephone services were disrupted.
  • by midday on 12 December 2016, most businesses within the city had closed as had some schools.
  • students of Wainui Beach Area School were unable to attend their final week at school as the school relies on electricity to pump their water. The next day, most schools had cancelled their day until further notice.
  • Increased police and fire units were called in as the city would still have no power overnight.
  • A generator was required to pump water to the residents of Wainui Beach.
  • Local radio stations, including Turanga FM had to shut down by 2 pm local time on 12 December.

Restoration of service

Crews worked through the night and following day once the bodies of the two people in the plane crash had been recovered and forensics and the coroner had finished their investigation. However, due to high winds, thunderstorms and hailstorms occurring from late afternoon on 12 December to early morning 13 December, progress was delayed. Power was restored to the central business district of Gisborne at 5:30 pm local time, 13 December 2016. It was estimated that all affected areas would have their power restored by 7:00 pm local time. At approximately 6:30 pm, power was restored to most of Gisborne.[4]

See also