Landslip pushed Dodge ute along on a trail of destruction

By Lesley Staniland -
Add a comment

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

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

"The torch was a bit weak and I couldn't really see anything so I went back to bed,'' Rex said.

"When I got up later on and looked out the window, I was absolutely staggered.

"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. 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

The massive slip which miraculously swept between buildings was just one example of the widespread damage caused after a month's worth of rainfall crashed down in a single day this week.

Eden's $80,000 Dodge ute, which he used to tow a fifth wheeler camper, was 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 and coming to rest on the opposite property.

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 opposite, 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. 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 has been left 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 from Chevron Cresc above slipped.

The holiday home was unoccupied at the time.

Both roads north and south of Whangamata were closed for most of yesterday by large slips and the road to Waihi near Whiritoa remained closed today.

Civil Defence Controller and Whangamata Area Manager Garry Towler said the Coromandel was not out of the rough yet with another downpour predicted for later today.

Whangamata Fire Brigade, which had its first callout at 3.48am yesterday and a further 38 by 12.30pm, fortunately had a quiet night.

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

Shops closed early yesterday and many remained closed today as Eftpos, email and till services were unable.

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

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 27 Apr 2017 01:21:09 Processing Time: 646ms