Rain causes major slips on Waiheke

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

A house in Owhanake Bay is perched precariously close to the cliff edge. Photo / Natalie Slade
A house in Owhanake Bay is perched precariously close to the cliff edge. Photo / Natalie Slade

Residents on Waiheke Island yesterday woke to muddy terrain and blocked roads - as dozens of slips occurred after heavy rains battered the island.

A huge downpour on Wednesday night led to about 100 slips around the island, putting at least one house in Surfdale at risk.

Pictures taken by the Herald showed a slip close to another property in Owhanake Bay, on the northern side of the island and coastal waters turned murky brown by mud and silt.

Auckland City Council workers were at the site of the house at risk - on Lannan Rd, in Surfdale - and were working to save the home.

A large slip left the property's foundations partly exposed, while the garden was strewn down towards the road.

Neighbour Rosemary Baragwanath said she woke to see her neighbours' garden destroyed.

"It looked a bit odd, there was a cabbage tree sticking up from nowhere, and netting. The garden was quite lovely and next thing it's dumped outside."

Ms Baragwanath, 68, said she knew by the sound of the "lashing rain" the night before that it was going to mean a whole lot of clean up the next day.

Ms Baragwanath said the owner of the house, which was a holiday home, had flown over from Auckland City in a helicopter to scope out how much damage had been done to his property.

Dressed in a suit, he was still "not looking too good" after visiting his holiday home, she said.

Auckland City Council workers, engineers and diggers worked throughout the island to clear roads yesterday.

A council spokesman said there were three significant slips on the island. "A house is understood to be in a precarious position."

The other two big slips were at Anzac Bay and on Oneroa Beach a large amount of earth was dumped onto the beach below.

Hauraki Gulf Islands councillor Denise Roche last night said she had noticed that the weather had become more extreme on Waiheke Island.

"The weather's definitely changing - the result of climate change, I'm thinking - it's heavier rain in the winter and more dry in the summer."

- NZ Herald

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