Kaiaua resident: ’We’d just renovated’

Flooding on Kowhai Ave in Kaiaua. Photo: RNZ / Supplied

A Kaiaua resident whose house was badly flooded will likely have to rebuild his house half a metre higher if he's to return, he says.

Initial Hauraki Council assessments have found a dozen homes are uninhabitable and more than 70 are only partially habitable after last week's storm.

Those left without a home have been left staying with family and at local motels until they can get back on their feet.

The home Alex Corbett and his wife Penny moved into 40 years ago now sits drying out with builders already working to open the walls to expose the framing.

"We looked up and saw water trickling through the back of the section from the beachfront neighbours," says Alex.

"So we went to investigate that and noticed the tide was beginning to come in and within ten minutes we were up to well over our ankles in water and it just kept surging in."

Theirs is one of a dozen homes considered severely damaged and uninhabitable, leaving them staying 4km away at their daughter's place.

Alex says they had been through the property and thrown away a lot of things left soggy and damaged, but one week on from the flood itself fatigue was hitting.

"That's starting to sink in because of the long-term wait now to get back into a home. We'd just renovated, my wife had just got a new kitchen and bathroom which she was quite proud of but that's gone now.

Alex says they would be looking to rent deciding the fate of their 1960s home.

"We're one of the lower lying houses in the township itself and we don't want to go through the stress and strains of this every time there's a rain warning that we're either going to get it from the creek behind or the sea in front of us.

They were among the lucky ones, he said: well insured when others, sadly, were not.

"We're handling it with our insurance company now, we want to bowl the house and actually rebuild and lift the section, and build a higher house.

He says it would likely need to be raised half a metre to avoid further flooding.

Ten minutes' drive down the coast, Miranda Holiday Park is doing its bit to help those without a place to stay.

Manager Don Hellaby says they had offered accommodation and made the Park's laundry and pool available to affected locals.

"We've probably only got about four people at the moment we've managed to put up. Some of them are working out insurance claims, others we've opened up to who've been stuck with no insurance. It's just a case of helping people who need it.

With many people requiring substantial repairs, Don says it could be some time before they could move out and move on.

"Some of them could quite easily be four, six weeks. Because of the building boom and everything it's trying to get people up in Kaiaua to rebuild and waiting for insurance claims to be assessed and sorted out."

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