Houses are underwater and roads have been washed out across Hawkes Bay following yesterday's extraordinary amount of rain.
People were rescued from their roofs by helicopters and boats to escape rapidly rising floodwaters.
Civil Defence doesn't know how many people have taken shelter in evacuation centres, but the Hastings Sports Centre was nearing capacity last night.
Others spent the night stranded, waiting to be rescued from their flooded homes.
Napier mayor Kirsten Wise spoke to Corin Dann.