People are still being evacuated from their homes in Piha as land remains dangerous and unstable days after Cyclone Gabrielle.
Locals are warning city sightseers to stay away from the Auckland beach community, saying they are still in the middle of an emergency.
Steve Morrison and Anne Bilek were evacuated to the surf club overnight on Wednesday with their son Edmund and beloved dogs Helen Clark and Bella.
A large part of their street was now deemed too dangerous because of unstable land.
They had initially stayed there after making it through a harrowing storm night spent digging trenches and stopbanks to try to stop huge volumes of water.
“Just the sound is terrifying. And in the dark your bearings start going and when the land is sliding around, all your geography is a little bit disturbed,” Steve said.
Two or three homes on the street were destroyed that night.
“One of them cartwheeled forward … and then was just piled against power pole,” he said.
Some Piha homes remained perched precariously over huge slips, others were still flooded.
Surf club custodian Paul Newnham said a lot of land was still moving.
“There’s still boulders the size of cars falling out of some of these things,” he said.
A huge slip, more than 50 metres high sits above flooded baches along the South Piha beachfront.
It had demolished one of them and the rest were all red stickered.
More stories of survival emerged as the seaside community was reconnected by road and phone yesterday after being initially cut off.
Oliver Cashmore and his grandparents fled their flooded bach on Monday night for higher ground at their landlord’s house.
But a slip came through the window of that house and then there was worse – the back wall began to crack.
“Above us we can see the beams are starting to twist and at that point we decide we have to get out,” he said.
Thirty seconds later the house fell down the hill and landed on the one they had been staying in, he said.
The surf club was providing support to him and many others who had been either evacuated or who needed to come down for food or to charge their phone.
The power was likely to be restored by Friday night, Vector said.
Some residents were still largely cut off by a flood that created a small lake, effectively splitting Garden Road in two.
Those on the wrong side could only get out by walking a bush track to the road below.
Fifteen minutes drive away, the a small settlement of Karekare was facing its fifth day entirely cut off.
Ten people were evacuated by helicopter yesterday.
Auckland emergency controller Rachel Kelleher said some of them were visitors to the settlement who wanted to get home, among them children.
Those staying behind were doing well and the council had dropped supplies including water, food, and a satellite phone for the fire brigade, she said.
Some of parts of the community were even cut off from each other because there were several slips, she said.
Kelleher did not know how long it would be before the community was reconnected.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz