Hundreds of houses lie empty and part-submerged in Edgecumbe, a day after a torrent of water streamed though the town.
The Rangitāiki River burst through a stop bank forcing almost the entire town of 1600 people to leave their homes.
Watch footage of the flood-hit town from the air.
Prime Minister Bill English visited the town this morning and said it was likely some would never go back to their homes. Local officials say it will take up to two weeks to pump out the water.
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The low-lying rural town was made particularly flood-prone after the 1987 earthquake dropped parts of the town and surrounding rural land by up to two metres. Read the full story here.