Four terminally ill patients had to be stretchered out of Waipuna Hospice after the entire hospital was evacuated by flooding on Saturday.
Chief executive Richard Thurlow said the decision was made after power technicians told him a transformer on the property might blow up, cutting power to the hospital.
Dr Thurlow said five of the nine patients at the hospice were moved to Althorp Private Hospital in Pyes Pa by ambulance while the remaining four went home.
Waipuna Hospice staff also moved to Althorp and community nurses were on-call for those patients who went home.
The patients were being moved back into the hospice today.
Mr Thurlow said the flooding occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning when the Wairoa River came across Te Puna Station Rd, creating a moat around the hospital after 174mm of rain fell on Friday night
The water also flooded 16 cars and vans, used by community nurses, social workers and family support workers.
Mr Thurlow today said that between eight and nine of the vehicles would have to be written off and a further five were being assessed.
Water also entered sheds used for storing expensive medical equipment including electronic beds and wheelchairs. Maintenance equipment has also been destroyed by the water.
Mr Thurlow said the damage bill was not yet known and the hospice was considering a public appeal to cover the losses.
"We'll really sort of be in clean-up mode over the next week."
He said the evacuation of patients was a first for the hospice but it ran very smoothly.
He said volunteers and family of the patients assisted staff to ferry them across the knee-deep floodwater on stretchers or in four wheel drives while the Tauranga Fire Brigade also provided extra manpower.
Meanwhile, by lunchtime those worst affected by the flooding at the Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park, where flood waters reached waist height had packed up and gone home.
Rotorua couple Steve and Sheryll Strickett had spent the summer holidays at the camp for the last 25 years and said they had never seen flooding like it.
"We've only lost jandals that have floated away, we thought we'd lost both the fridges - finger's crossed they're still going," Mrs Strickett said.
Lollipops Playland owners Pauline Stephens and Michelle Solia had seven children's birthday parties booked for Saturday - their busiest day since taking over the Poike business on December 1.
"We just get clientele and then this happens," Mrs Stephen's said, standing at the water's edge on Roxanne Pl.
After working until at least midnight on Friday Mrs Stephen's said her business partner, Mrs Solia, went back to work about 8am on Saturday to find the road blocked by floodwaters.
Unsure of the depth she attempted to drive the company van through the water, only to find it was waist deep.
The van became stranded and Mrs Solia was forced to wade back to dry land, calling for help on her cellphone.
They were forced to break the bad news to carloads of excited children as they arrived at the road blocks.
"We don't even know whether the place has been damaged or not," Mrs Stephens said.
In nearby Maleme St in Greerton strong wind gusts pulled a tree from the ground, bursting a water main outside Alltranz Driver Training.
Owner Neville Irvine was in the office when he and workmate Patrick Matthews noticed water coming out around the base of one of the roadside trees.
Suddenly the water main burst and a fountain of water spouted about 2m into the air.
Concerned the tree would collect the powerlines if it fell across the road the pair blocked the road to traffic.
"We were busy trying to keep everyone out of the way because they would have been electrocuted," Mr Irvine said.
About 20 minutes later the tree crashed across the road clipping - but not breaking - the powerlines as it went. Tauranga City Council contractors City Care and Arbor Care were called to remove the tree and fix the broken main, restoring water to Maleme St.
Across the Western Bay the downpour also caused a day of surface flooding on State Highway 2, between Te Maunga and Te Puke, slowing holiday traffic to a crawl.
At Mount Maunganui, the Mauao base track has been closed and Pilot Bay remained off limits to swimmers today.
A Tauranga City Council spokesperson said the track was considered too dangerous for walkers and would be closed for this week at least.
Pilot Bay would remain closed while water quality testing was undertaken this week.
A mass of sea lettuce and kelp that washed up on Main Beach was cleared this morning ahead of the Festival of Surf Sport's DHL International Surf Challenge being held there today.
The city council, which is contracted only to remove sea lettuce, split the cost of the removal with Surf Life Saving New Zealand.
The aftermath of Cyclone Wilma has also forced organisers of what was the REAL women's triathlon to change the event to a duathlon after the closure of Pilot Bay.
Event director Jane Patterson said those scheduled to swim in the triathlon this morning were transferred into the duathlon event, also being held today.
The closure of the Mauao base track also cut the duathlon's original 3.5km circuit to 2km.
Tauranga city residents were asked over the weekend to conserve water after a major water main break severely cut reservoir supplies, however the situation was "back to normal" this morning, council water supply manager Peter Bahrs said.
At Waimarino Adventure Park in Bethlehem a clean up is under way after likewise being damaged by wind and rain.
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