Police have been describing how they and the fire service used helicopters, jet skis and inflatable boats to help rescue three people stranded by flood waters at the Haruru Falls on the Waitangi River early on Saturday morning.
One woman was swept away and is still missing.
She was staying at a rural property in Lilypond Lane west of Waitangi. Fire chief Alan Kerrisk said an eye-witness at the Bay of Islands property reported seeing the woman swept away, and air and land searches have found no trace of her.
The emergency services were alerted at about 6am to a woman who was hanging onto a tree in the river.
It is believed she came from a nearby house where the occupants had been partying most of the night. She was swept away, apparently while trying to get back to the house from her partially submerged vehicle.
When police and fire officers arrived at the scene they rescued three people either stuck in trees or on top of car and shed roofs.
The helicopters and SAR staff have continued an air search of the Waitangi River in treacherous conditions on Saturday in an effort to locate the missing woman. She is believed to be a visitor to the area from the Wellington region.
Far North District Council says 128mm of rain fell in the upper Waitangi catchment between 3pm on Friday and 6am on Saturday.
Floodwater is through at least 28 houses in Moerewa, north of Whangarei and Civil Defence staff say king tides will mean those people are unlikely to get back into their houses until Sunday afternoon at the earliest.
Moerewa civil defence worker Mike Butler said the Waiharakeke river was still rising just before 10pm on Saturday.
Mr Butler said the community and the Fire Service worked all afternoon to try and protect further properties from flood water.
He said the rain had stopped and people should be able to begin the clean up on Sunday afternoon.
Civil Defence Controller Alastair Wells said Council staff and emergency services were out from first light on Saturday morning checking roads and infrastructure for damage and offering help to flood-stricken households.
He said anyone who urgently needed accommodation, food, heating, clothing or medical supplies could phone for help on 0800 920 029.
It had stopped raining in Northland on Saturday afternoon, but many roads were still blocked, and the police advised people to delay travel if they could.
Welfare centres are now open for people flooded out of their homes, in Haruru and Moerewa.
Power mostly back on by Saturday night
The power was back on in most Northland households by Saturday evening.
Northpower - which services lower Northland - says by dusk only 10 customers would still be without electricity.
Top Energy, which supplies the Far North, says only a few hundred homes were still without power.
Northpower says line crews were helicoptered in to two sites near Dargaville on Saturday to fix faults on power poles cut off by floods.
The company's also flown replacement poles in to other sites on Saturday in rugged terrain at Parua Bay and the Brynderwyn Hills.
More than 400mms of rain has fallen in parts of Northland in recent days, with floods forcing people from their homes and closing roads.
Many Northland roads remain closed or with limited access following Friday night's heavy rain.
State Highway 1 south of Kawakawa has re-opened after a washout which brought traffic to a halt. Police say extreme caution is advised.
Several other sections of Northland's state highway network are also affected by the storm:
- SH1, Kawakawa to Ohaewai: highway closed by floods; no suitable detour available;
- SH1, north of Moerewa at Truntable Hill bridge: flooding; caution needed;
- SH10, Puketotara Road to Waipapa Road: flooding; highway narrowed to one lane;
- SH10, near Kaeo: highway closed by floods; no suitable detour available;
- SH11, Kawakawa to Paihia highway closed by floods at Lemons Hill;
- SH12, near Kaikohe: highway closed by floods at Taheke; no suitable detour available;
- SH12, north of Dargaville: highway closed by floods at Rotu Culvert; no suitable detour available.