Des and Dot Thiele left their Anzac Parade home on Saturday, June 20, after watching the rugby and expected to be back the next morning.

But they didn't return until a couple of months ago.

"In the morning it was still dry here," Mr Thiele said.

"We got a call from my brother in Raine St and he was talking of the flooding there. And we were having him on because we were bone dry and they were flooding.


"It wouldn't have been until five or six o'clock that there was excessive water. But we were still dry here.

"We watched the rugby and when we came out after the rugby that's when we thought this is serious because by that stage it was probably ankle-deep outside.

"We were tossing up - did we go to bed, or did we go out to a friends? And at that time we got a knock on the door saying we had half an hour to get out."

Mrs Thiele said: "You could see the water rising."

The couple took only enough for one night, expecting their departure was just a precaution.

"We still assumed at that stage we'd be coming back the following day. We didn't think it was going to come into the house," Mr Thiele said.

"The next morning we came into town and we realised we couldn't even get across the river. That was probably the hardest bit, because we couldn't get back to it and we didn't know what on earth was happening."

What did happen was their house and almost everything in it was destroyed.

"I just cracked up and laughed because it was such a mess," Mrs Thiele said.

"When you looked, you knew there was nothing that could be saved."

The couple went into a motel for a few weeks and then were in a rental until they moved back to Anzac Parade a couple of months ago. They had treated it as "another new adventure" but they're back now and say, despite all they went through, they had it relatively easy.

"We're probably among the lucky ones," Mr Thiele said. "I don't know that we want to go through it again in a hurry. It's been a tough year; it's been a learning year."

The Chronicle went back to those affected by and involved in the June 2015 flood in Whanganui to hear how they remember it. By Bevan Conley and Zaryd Wilson