Plimmerton residents face daunting clean-up after deluge of rain

Flood-struck Plimmerton residents have a few dry days in store now after a large wet weather system passed through the wider Wellington region today.

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Wellington and surrounding areas have had more than double the usual amount of November rainfall. Source: 1 NEWS

Pumps put in place in the village to deal with last night’s heavy rain held up well, with no further significant damage, Porirua City Council said in a statement.

In the suburb of Whitby, two houses were damaged by a slip, with residents from one property forced to evacuate.

“This rainmaker that's worked in, it's had a lot of energy from the Southern Ocean, a good dump of moisture, the wind of course and it just pummelled much of central New Zealand the last couple of days,” 1 NEWS meteorologist Dan Corbett said.

On Wellington's south coast, severe gales of up to 120 kilometres an hour caused large swells.

The first Interislander ferry journey across the Cook Strait from Picton for the day was cancelled before voyages resumed.

Plimmerton residents forced to evacuate their homes due to flooding were picking through their possessions today and making arrangements for where they’ll live while properties are repaired.

Home owner Rebekah Burgess is facing six to eight months living elsewhere with her family and said she wants the Porirua City Council to answer what action will be taken in the long-term to deal with the flooding risk.

“It’s not enough to say that this has been a flood… this is a massive human toll in probably the hardest year that I ever remember of my life,” she said.

“I feel quite removed from it right now because I’m in ‘I need to sort this out’ mode but I’m going through a grief process and I know I’m not the only one."

"I know there are people through here that don’t have insurance… I feel for everyone that’s been displaced.”

Burgess and her partner Cameron Mills said the offers of accommodation, storage, coffees and washing from the community have given them hope.

“I just posted (on Facebook) and said, ‘Look I’ve got this extensive collection of vinyl, does anyone want to help me resurrect this?’ and someone’s gone through and they’ve laid out all my vinyl, washed all of it… it is only stuff and we’re safe but this stuff matters, you know?”

She said it hasn’t even sunk in what help people have offered and they can’t thank people enough for their generosity.

“It gives me a bit of me back really, you know, cause we’re losing… we are losing everything.”

Tuk Tuk Thai Kitchen’s Daeng Neuang-keo has also been offering support, cooking 100 meals today with her staff to be distributed throughout the community, including to flood-struck St Theresa’s School.

Shipping containers full of classroom resources and equipment have been written off by flood damage.

“This is a good way to fill the gap, you know, just to help them out because it may be a little bit but it can be quite big from some people,” Neuang-keo said.

“This will be some sort of relief so they don’t have to stress about cooking when there's lots of other things to stress about,” she said.

A local supermarket also surprised students with ice blocks today.

On the worst-hit streets in Plimmerton, Porirua City Council staff are removing possessions that have been destroyed from households and are filling tips with waste.

Retiree David Edmonds joined the efforts today.

“I thought it can’t be much fun being flooded out, the least you can do is give someone a bit of a help,” he said.

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker said drain maintenance will need to be increased after the flooding event, but said it was two weeks ago that a culvert drain grate near the flooded Karehana Park was cleared out by contractors.

“We do ask residents when there is high-flooding coming or a high-amount of water coming to check their own cause we simply can’t check every one in the city, we do try,” she said.

The council did not expect the rain that fell on Sunday morning to be so heavy.

“You’ve got to remember our pipes are designed for a one in 30 (year) sort of flood… and now we’re into climate change, we’re getting these regular in 100… one in 150… I don’t even know what this one was but it was high,” Baker said.

The mayor said she stands by the decisions the council has made while she’s been in the position, but said the previous council has “never put enough money in".

“We probably need to spend another 10, 20 million just to help out in the hot spots around the city, so it’s a matter of prioritising and how many rate increases can people take,” she said.

Baker said larger pipes in flood-prone Porirua suburbs would be a long-term solution but at the moment the budget does not allow for them.

“Our whole city has got smaller pipes the whole way through… I couldn’t tell you how long it would take.”

She said areas in the suburbs of Titahi Bay and Mungavin Avenue in Ranui flood more frequently than Plimmerton.

“I’d love to be able to say to them they’ve got new pipes coming but that’s a full council decision of how much money we spend,” she said.

Baker said the bill for providing the required infrastructure for the Three Waters government regulations is $1.8 billion and it’s a matter of prioritisation.

“We’re spending more than we ever have but our pipes are nearly 60 years old so with climate change, the waters just not getting through.”

She said she will raise the issue of finding the required funding for necessary infrastructure with the Government in a meeting.