One year on from the devastation caused by ex-Cyclone Debbie and 78 homes in a small Bay of Plenty town are still unoccupied.
About 1600 people were evacuated when a stop bank on the Rangitaiki River at Edgecumbe breached during the ex-cyclone last year causing the destruction of 15-homes and extensive damage to many others. A torrent of water flowed into the town and many fled with only the clothes they were wearing.
Two-hundred-and-twelve homes have been repaired but 78 are still awaiting repair.
Jewell Delamare and her family of five are living with whānau: Eight people in a 3 bedroom house.
"It has been a huge emotional rollercoaster," she said.
Maisie Natana was driven out of her home by flooding but moved back in October and said people were still angry.
"Why [did] it happen? Who's to pay? Particularly for those [who are] uninsured."
People in 24 damaged homes who had no insurance were able to get back home due to the Liveable Homes Project - a Whakatane District Council initiative headed by retired builder John Pullar.
"After the trauma of the event a lot of people didn't know where to start and we were able to get them going," Mr Pullar said.
"Some people would still be in a tent, I suppose."
Marion Hopkinson was one of the lucky ones to receive help from the Liveable Homes Project.
"I'd let my insurance lapse because of circumstances at the time and they came along and helped me. I wouldn't have known where to go."
Flood waters affected most of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, including much farmland and also to towns such as Poroporo, Thornton, Taneatua and Ruatoki.
Local community board chair Charelle Stevenson said although remedial work was slow, a lot had been achieved.
About 90 percent of Edgecumbe Primary School's community was affected by floods. Trauma support and counselling for staff and students was provided.
Principal Kahu Walker said he saw "children really hitting the wall".
"We have had some serious mental health issues and not just the children but also our staff."
Students were still anxious about flooding and problems with underground drainage meant this was a possibility, he said.
Community board Chair Charelle Stevenson believes the general feeling in Edgecumbe was of hope.
"They are trying to look forward and move on but I do understand there is a segment of the community who have found that quite hard."
Bay of Plenty Regional Council chair Doug Leader said repairs to stopbanks had been prioritised and work would help prevent flooding in the future. The remedial work would cost about $50 million.