Coromandel resident Rex Eden woke at 3.30am on Wednesday morning to the sound of a tree falling, followed by thunder.

He shone his torch out the window of his upstairs flat in Onemana Drive, about 10km north of the seaside settlement of Whangamata.

The torch was "a bit weak" and he saw little, so Mr Eden went back to bed.

But when he got up later and looked out the window, he was absolutely staggered.

Advertisement

"There used to be a row of trees along the side of the house and a caravan parked next to them - but when I looked out there was nothing," he said.

"It had all gone.''

Rex Eden, whose $80,000 Dodge ute was pushed almost 50m by the slip. Photo/Lesley Staniland
Rex Eden, whose $80,000 Dodge ute was pushed almost 50m by the slip. Photo/Lesley Staniland

A massive slip had swept between buildings in what proved to be just one example of the widespread damage caused by this week's heavy rain.

Mr Eden's $80,000 Dodge ute had been dislodged by the slip and pushed almost 50m from the top of the drive to the house, ending up less than a metre from the wall of a house on the opposite side of the road.

It was only halted by a strong steel pipe erected for a shade sail.

On its journey down the hill the ute bowled over a neighbour's power box before crossing a wide grassy area.

The massive slip miraculously swept between these two buildings (the one on the right is the home of Rex Eden). Photo/Lesley Staniland
The massive slip miraculously swept between these two buildings (the one on the right is the home of Rex Eden). Photo/Lesley Staniland
An aerial shot of where the slip swept between Rex's home and another building. Photo/Peter West
An aerial shot of where the slip swept between Rex's home and another building. Photo/Peter West

Yvonne Staunton, the owner of the house, was asleep in the downstairs unit and shone her torch out the window after hearing noises but likewise didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

"I still haven't been able to figure out how Rex's ute came to be where it is," she said yesterday. "It was in park with the handbrake on.

"There are no tyre marks on the grass. The only evidence is the broken power box. So it must have flown or floated.''

Her daughter's car, which was parked on the downward side of Rex's ute, was a write-off after a large pohutukawa fell on it.

The 4wd [top centre] with its bum jammed against a sturdy steel pole, and the silver car [centre], both started from bottom centre, beside the carport. The remains of the caravan [peeping through the trees near the car], started off beside the caravan in front right. It removed a line of large existing trees on the boundary, completely, as well as a set of stairs and sturdy carport supports. Photo/Peter West
The 4wd [top centre] with its bum jammed against a sturdy steel pole, and the silver car [centre], both started from bottom centre, beside the carport. The remains of the caravan [peeping through the trees near the car], started off beside the caravan in front right. It removed a line of large existing trees on the boundary, completely, as well as a set of stairs and sturdy carport supports. Photo/Peter West
The Dodge ute after it was swept away. Photo/Lesley Staniland
The Dodge ute after it was swept away. Photo/Lesley Staniland

The caravan which used to be parked beside the trees was a flattened wreck and the garage of another neighbouring property received some damage.

Meanwhile, back in Whangamata, a Hilton Rd house was also badly damaged when a hillside slipped down from Chevron Cres.

The holiday home was unoccupied at the time.

Roads north and south of Whangamata were closed for most of yesterday by large slips.

Whangamata Fire Brigade had responded to at least 39 callouts.

They were supported by members of the Onemana Volunteer Rural Fire Force, who also monitored roads north of Whangamata where several slips had fallen.

Some shops closed early and remained closed, as Eftpos, email and till services were unable.

They were not expected to be available until Friday at the earliest.