By Carla Penman
A Kaiaua resident has put the damage from Friday's storm to his coastal property at nearly $80,000. It'll be the second time Graham files an insurance claim for flood damage in nine months.
It's been four days since huge waves burst over the sea bank in the small town situated on the Firth of Thames - and the clean-up is still very much getting started.
Almost 150 properties were damaged in the village or along the coastline, with some deemed uninhabitable by assessors.
Fridges, soggy mattresses and ruined stacks of carpet lie in and around skips that've been brought in by the Hauraki District Council.
Contractors spoken to by NZH Focus say they have weeks of work ahead of them to properly clear the sand off the road.
Coast Road resident Stephanie Brough told NZH Focus that she and her husband had been eating breakfast at around 8.30am on Friday when the waves started rolling in.
"Slowly the section started to flood. It came in from the back first and then started to come across the front of the section and the level just rose and rose.
"And we watched our neighbour two doors down. Their fence went first, then next door's went. And ours started to wave. So that went."
She says it just got scarier and scarier.
"And watching the sea come at you is not a very exciting thing to see."
Brough described her seaside view after the waves died down as similar to "a bomb site".
Two doors down, Graham's house was far worse off. The 71-year-old and his wife got home from holiday in Fiji on Sunday to the damage. He says it was the second time in nine months that their property had been flooded.
"[The waves] moved everything from the front of the property to the back of the property … As well as the garden, we'd had a brilliant crop of beans growing there, courgettes, sweetcorn. All decimated. All rotting away now."
He says since March, they'd replaced three beds and mattresses which have now been totally ruined and sent to the tip.
Cabinets, washing machine, dryer, freezers and one containing a large amount of fish bait, which he says, is getting "rather smelly".
In March last year, he says he filed an insurance claim of $45,000. This time however, he estimates it'll be up to $80,000.
The Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi visited Kaiaua on Tuesday, along with Te Puru, where he spoke to affected residents and businesses.
In response to the scale of the damage, Hauraki District Council mayor John Tregidga told NZH Focus he had this morning set up a disaster relief fund to help. He describes it as the worst he's seen in 30 years - since Cyclone Bola in 1988.
Resident and senior firefighter Tess Watts says she's been inundated with calls all weekend from people all over the country offering to donate furniture and money.