Ursula Mayo is "gutted" she will likely see her home of 45 years demolished after last week's flooding in Edgecumbe destroyed the property.
A video on Facebook shows Mayo walking around her wrecked home, peering in through the windows to see furniture and belongings all across the muddy floors.
Mayo and her husband Noel cannot go into their home as the damage has made it unstable.
"It's literally, the back is broken, the house is broken," she told the Herald.
"What was going through my mind was that it was 10 times or 100 times worse than I anticipated."
Mayo had not expected the raw power of the flooded river to cause such damage. The back of the house has dropped down and a trench has been gouged between her and her neighbour's homes.
"The force of that water was horrendous. You couldn't stand up in it.
"Everything in the back yard is gone ... we just copped it."
Her driveway of "heavy, thick concrete" was completely broken up, the garage is mangled, and two deep freezers holding "half a beast" were tipped over in the garage door. Mayo hoped some of the roaming dogs had eaten the meat, because at least then the smell of it decomposing wouldn't be added to the smells the floodwaters brought.
Mayo's car is somewhere in the garage. She was unable to get across to it and doesn't know what state the vehicle is in.
While most things in the house are ruined, the silver lining is that a couple of framed photos and vases on top of a cabinet in the living room have survived the onslaught.
Mayo said the disaster was "worse than an earthquake", and said the fact they had little notice to evacuate added to the problem.
She grew up in nearby Thornton, and said the river would often flood, but she was not expecting it last week because she believed the Matahina dam was supposed to protect residents.
She expected her house would need to be demolished, but did not know if she'd be able to buy another house in the current market or would have to rent.
"It's not just us, there's a lot of other families in the same boat. A lot of other families that will have demolished houses. A lot of other families with young kids, no insurance. The wages aren't high these days, the families are struggling. Maybe the insurance was something that was just an extra expense they can't afford."
Mayo hopes to be able to go back into her home at some point and gather up some belongings, though when that can happen remains to be seen.