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The Matamata-Piako District is prone to a variety of natural hazards including
Flooding is the most significant natural hazard that affects Matamata-Piako as the district has two major river systems, the Piako and the Waihou flowing through populated areas and prime agricultural land. The removal of forested areas in upper catchments (outside the Matamata-Piako District) and the drainage and development of swamp land within the District together with ageing of flood protection works has led to an increased flood hazard.
Over the past year five resource consents have been granted for development within the flood protection area.
While forest fires have not been a regular occurrence in the district, they are a recognised risk within the Kaimai Ranges and other forested areas. This risk needs to be controlled.
Areas of the Matamata-Piako District adjacent to the Kaimai Range are particularly prone to high winds. There are also other areas within the District that are subject to local wind tunnelling. In these areas what can appear to be a mild storm event can in fact result in quite substantial wind damage to property.
There are several active fault lines within the District, the most prominent being the Kerepehi fault line which runs in a southeast – northwest direction between Matamata and Te Aroha. This fault line is thought to be responsible for both of the Districts largest earthquakes on record which measured between 6 and 6.9 in magnitude. The latest of these earthquakes occurred on 8 January 1972 near Te Aroha.(1)
The only volcanic activity within the Matamata-Piako District is the geothermal hot springs and geyser located at the Te Aroha Domain and the Opal hot springs near Matamata. The district is also located in the volcanic ash deposition zone from the Tongariro Volcanic Centre which encompasses the National Park mountains. The most recent volcanic event, the eruption of Mt Ruapehu in 1995 forced millions of tonnes of volcanic ash into the atmosphere to eventually settle over an area covering hundreds of square kilometres. Some volcanic ash settled within the Matamata-Piako District.