30 Jan 2023

Auckland floods: Rānui hit hard - homes red and yellow stickered

From Checkpoint, 5:10 pm on 30 January 2023

Gut-wrenching scenes face West Auckland residents as they return to their properties to assess the damage from storms, floods and landslips. 

It is now the fourth day of Auckland's state of emergency and red rain warnings remain in place with more heavy rain forecast. A rainfall warning has been upgraded to red for parts of Auckland, Coromandel and Northland from Tuesday afternoon.

It comes as the region has recorded a whopping 769 percent of its usual January rainfall.

30 January - Due to the current red level weather warnings, the National Emergency Management Agency have issued advice on how to keep safe, scroll down to find the full list below. 

One of the Auckland suburbs hardest hit on Friday night was Ranui.

A yellow stickered Māngere house stating residents are only allowed short term entry to the building which has been damaged.

A yellow sticker on a Māngere house Photo: RNZ / Jonty Dine

Many homes have been slapped with a red or yellow sticker, meaning that at the moment they were dangerous to enter. (A red sticker bans anyone from entering a property, while a yellow sticker meant some access might be granted, for example with supervision or only to some parts of the building.) 

Ranui resident Mark Griffin told Checkpoint how Friday night's flooding unfolded at his place, and left his house of nearly 30 years yellow-stickered.  

This was the second flood he had experienced in 18 months, but this time things were far worse. 

As water rushed into his family home, he had to flee. Nothing could be salvaged.

Residents on Camphora Place in West Auckland's Ranui are picking up the pieces at their homes after Momutu Stream overflowed and flooded their properties. Mark Griffin (pictured) says it's the second time it's flooded in 18 months.

Mark Griffin is among the residents on Camphora Place in West Auckland's Ranui who are picking up the pieces at their homes after Momutu Stream overflowed and flooded their properties.  Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver

"It happened within 10 to 15 minutes - it was up to the top of the bottom step in the front there, and yeah within 10 or 15 minutes it was coming through the door and it was panic stations trying to put things up high best we could.

"Of course you put things up high on cabinets that then decided to float and fall over and just take everything with it." 

Today, he was back to take a better look at the destruction. 

"All the cabinets are all just chocka block full of mud and silt and everything's stuffed. 

"This is my son's room, so everything he owned was in here ... you can see the state of the chest of drawers, they're just all swollen, you can't even open the drawers. It went all over the bed."

Residents on Comphora Place in West Auckland's Ranui are picking up the pieces at their homes after the Momutu Stream overflowed and flooded their properties.

More of the destruction from homes on Camphora Place in Ranui  Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver

Griffin said they would have to rely on insurance, but with a yellow sticker, he doubted they would be back. 

"It's going to be our our entire contents [insurance]. ... We're insured 50 [thousand] and we're going to spend all of that easy. I'm pretty sure that we're not going to be insurable next time."

Skip bins and wheelbarrows dotted the street as neighbours, friends and family mucked in to pick up the pieces, with more heavy rain expected. 

A few doors down Gavin Fraser was busy going through his family's belongings, with a group from his church lending a hand. 

"The water line was just underneath the window there, you can't see it too well today, but it's just underneath the window so if there's anything that's above that line we should be able to salvage [it]."

In the meantime they were staying with family while they figured out where to next. 

West Auckland flood damage, 30 January 2023

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

"We just need to wait for the assessors to come out and see what the next step is really, and figure out where we go with our lives from that point onwards," Fraser said.

Titirangi in west Auckland had been particularly hard hit, with a number of landslips.

One major slip has cut off residents around Titirangi Beach.

Alistair Grace said he woke to see a chunk of his land strewn across the road. 

Among those on the ground in West Auckland was Henderson-Massey Local Board deputy chairperson Brooke Loader.  

"We've partnered up with the student volunteer Army and it's been really great that they're turning out and we're leading a welfare door knock effectively." 

Loader said they had plans for a more hands-on clean up and would help in other parts of Auckland where there was a lot of demand. 

West Auckland flood damage, 30 January 2023

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

But the major issue was that many people did not have insurance. 

"In this area the majority of people actually don't have insurance, they have been affected by the floods last time and because of that a lot of them haven't been able to renew the insurance, so I think we've got a few more challenges ahead that we've go to work through."

That was a frustrating reality for Rahul Prasad. 

"Everything is gone and I got no insurance, I don't know what to do." 

Along with over 30 other people and a few pets, he had been sheltering at the Kelston evacuation centre at St Leonard's Road School after his home was flooded.

West Auckland flood damage, 30 January 2023

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Sir Michael Jones had been helping there, and explained what support people could access while seeking shelter.  

"So Ministry of Social Development. Here we have the phone on here that we've got a nurse we've got, we've got a doctor, so we've got all the medical people here, Housing New Zealand here."

Donations of blankets, clothes and baby items had been flowing in. 

The school would remain an evacuation centre until 7 February, and there were plans for a new centre to replace it, for as long as residents needed. 

"If you're feeling you know, desperate and destitute, it's a piece of hope and that's what we're seeing, is people leaving, walking out with their shoulders up ... they can go back and face the [world]." 

With a red rain warning still in place for Auckland, authorities were expecting more visitors at the Kelston evacuation centre in the next few days. 

Because of the red level weather warnings issued for Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, the National Emergency Management Agency has posted advice on how to keep safe:

  • Red weather warnings are the most severe warnings. The forecast weather could cause further flooding, slips and damage
  • People should stay up to date with the forecasts from MetService and continue to follow the advice of civil defence and emergency services
  • If you have evacuated, please stay where you are until you are given the all-clear to go home.
  • Stay away from floodwater. Always assume that all flood water is potentially contaminated and ensure hands, clothes and property are thoroughly cleaned after contact with flood waters
  • It is important to clean and dry your house and everything in it. Do not eat garden produce if the soil has been flooded
  • Throw away all food and drinking water that has come in contact with floodwater, including things stored in containers
  • Information about where to get help can be found on the Civil Defence website and from Auckland Emergency Management