The owner of a Waikato property which suffered its worst flooding in recent memory believes it will take up to three weeks for waters to recede.

Ian Troughton's 450ha Tramline Rd property was swamped by water yesterday after the swollen Piako River overflowed, sending water across several properties on the western side of the river, including his own.

He has four houses on the property, used for farm workers. Three were being lived in, one was vacant.

The Abapo family were safely evacuated from the property. Photo / Belinda Feek
The Abapo family were safely evacuated from the property. Photo / Belinda Feek

The Abapo family were trapped inside their house. Police initially thought they'd have to evacuate by boat, but Troughton organised one of his tractors to get them safely out.

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The family of six, who were surprisingly upbeat despite their ordeal, told the Herald they noticed the floodwaters rising on Saturday night before the mass flooding occurred yesterday.

They were now staying with friends. Tramline Rd wasn't the only road to be affected.
People living in neighbouring Mangawhero Rd are watching the waters with keen interest.

Many Patetonga residents visited the Troughton's property today to see how badly it was affected.

Many properties which run adjacent to the Piako River north of Tahuna are underwater.

Ian Troughton and his two sons Ryan and Greg in front of the flooded farmland. Photo / Belinda Feek
Ian Troughton and his two sons Ryan and Greg in front of the flooded farmland. Photo / Belinda Feek

Troughton, who lives in Turua, has owned the property for 25 years. Although it has flooded in the past, this was the worst he had ever experienced.

The section has been stuck in flood for the past 10 days.

As for today, he said the waters appeared to be going down the past couple of days, but then he noticed the river rising again so the call was made to evacuate all of the farm workers who live on-site.

"The river was just starting to come down when we got the second [storm] and the river system just can't manage."

He said the stopbank was working to its design and it was just a matter of "too much water coming down the river".

He believes it will take between two and three weeks for the floodwaters to recede.
There were more than 900 cows on-site, he said.

The flood tops off a rough month for Troughton.

Ten days ago, Troughton was put into liquidation, while last month he was fined $65,000 for discharging effluent on two farms that he owns.

Farm workers can't access any further down Tramline Rd due to floodwaters which has also trapped in a milk tanker. Photo/Belinda Feek
Farm workers can't access any further down Tramline Rd due to floodwaters which has also trapped in a milk tanker. Photo/Belinda Feek

Troughton told the Herald he stands to "lose everything", even the gumboots he was wearing.

Asked what he was going to do, he replied "I'm 60 years old, I'll have to start all over again".

Civil Defence controller Steve Fabish said staff visited just over 60 farms a few days ago, warning them flooding could be possible.

Waikato Civil Defence said the stopbank overtopping was due to the "exceptionally swollen state of the Piako and Waitoa rivers in eastern Waikato".

The overtopping would continuing today as high rainfall levels worked their way through the waterways.

"This event has seen more water enter the design ponding zones than in recorded history," a spokesperson said.

Waikato Regional Council's hazards team leader Rick Liefting said overtopping of stopbanks in the area, and the spilling of water to ponding areas, was part of the way the flood management scheme is designed to operate.

There are specific designated ponding areas in the Tramline Rd area.

"We can expect to see elevated water levels within the ponding areas for at least the next few days," he said.

"It's also possible further overtopping will occur into more designated ponding areas around Kaihere Rd as the peak water levels work their way through the system over the next few days."

Meanwhile, in the lower Waikato River catchment, high water levels remain set to continue this week.