22 May 2024

Painful flooding memories recalled as heavy rain affects Māngere again

5:34 am on 22 May 2024
Flooding in Mangere area

Waters rise near some Māngere properties last night. Photo: Supplied / Farasat Ullah

Some Māngere residents, whose homes were damaged in the anniversary floods in 2023, say last night's torrential rain kept them on edge as the rising Te Ararata stream again spilled into their streets.

More than 160 homes in Māngere were deemed fully or partially unliveable following the anniversary floods last year.

The suburb was hit again on Monday night - with Fire and Emergency attending 90 callouts across the city.

They were mostly in Māngere, Manurewa, St Heliers and Kohimarama.

Farasat Ullah, whose Kiwibuild home near Te Ararata stream was flooded last year, said it was a stressful night seeing it rise again.

He said people in the Māngere residents group were keeping each other updated with photos of the stream.

Ullah said his street was flooded and the waters came up to his doorstep, but luckily didn't go into the house.

"We were really afraid, we are still in that previous trauma, whenever rain comes, we are really in that stress," said Ullah who kept an eye on the situation past midnight.

Flooding in Mangere area - Kitea Place, near the Te Ararata stream.

The scene in Kitea Place near the Te Ararata stream. Photo: Supplied / Farasat Ullah

He said his son was frightened to sleep alone, and needed to have the lights on to feel safe.

Despite meetings over the past year, many relating to the buyout of damaged homes, he was frustrated that not enough has been done for flood resilience in Māngere.

"...they have not done anything with the stream, about widening or deepening the stream," he said.

"We are asking what will be happening with the stream, what are they doing to keep us safe from any next disaster coming."

Flooding in Mangere

Photo: Supplied / Farasat Ullah

Avana Taufitu, who saw the waters rise to her gates on Comet Crescent, said it was "emotional" for her to think about the potential consequences.

"It made me feel a bit emotional, and this time a bit worse in feelings, because when I noticed the flood out of the gates, and I looked around the surrounding neighbours, I don't think they noticed, they were fast asleep. Had it continued to rain a bit more and heavily, I can only imagine a lot worse could've happened."

Taufitu said she would have liked to get more warning before significant rain events such as last night's.

She lived with two older family members and it was worrying to think about the possibility of being stuck in their home in a flood.

Taufitu was living in a different house in the same area last year. It was also flooded.

She said she was considering a move away from the area due to the flooding risks.

"It's still autumn, going into winter soon, I don't wanna imagine what could happen soon," she said.

Auckland Council's general manager for Healthy Waters Craig Mcllroy said council's proposed a "Making Space for Water" (MSFW) programme to reduce flood risk, as part of its long term plan 2024-2034.

"This includes initiatives to increase maintenance, build stormwater infrastructure and work with communities and residents to better prepare for storms," he said.

Mcllroy said the programme identified Māngere as a priority area.

"Auckland Council is developing preliminary business cases for blue-green networks, including around Te Ararata Stream in Māngere on a co-funding basis with central government," he said.

Meanwhile, Mcllroy said council had increased catchpit cleaning from once per year to twice a year.

He added that there were other flood mitigation measures underway in Māngere, including:

  • Dredging of Tennessee Avenue culverts and removal of marine sediment downstream of these culverts
  • Clearing silt from the Mahunga Drive culverts and removal of marine sediment from the stream adjacent to the culverts
  • Clearing of debris and silt from the Walmsley Road bridge
  • Removal of silt from Elmdon Street culverts
  • Aquatic weed removal from Te Ararata stream
    • Mcllroy said the stream maintenance work in Māngere will be accelerated this winter with additional funding from the government's recent storm readiness fund.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs