FLOODS have wreaked havoc through New Zealand's Southland region with unseasonably heavy falls of up to 190mm causing flooding of major rivers in the region.
The rainfall was more than double the average February rainfall for the regional centre of Gore, which is 70mm.
Residents of Southland, one of New Zealand's major dairying regions, were on high alert for days, with people in Gore, Mataura and Wyndham urged to consider evacuation in light of predicted heavy riverine flooding with the Mataura River breaking its banks.
The rainfall was more than double Gore's average February rainfall of 70mm.
The river reached its peak last night and residents are slowly heading back to their houses.
The floods have also caused havoc with Southland's tourism sector with tourists stranded at popular Milford Sound after the road was cut due to the flooding.
The last of the 360 tourists forced to remain at Milford Sound were evacuated yesterday by airlift.
Conditions have cleared but the clean-up period will reveal the extent of flood damage to the region's agricultural sector.