Key Points:

Manukau City Council is closely monitoring the major slip area in the east Auckland suburb of Bucklands Beach today.

A council spokeswoman said today it had a man on site monitoring the situation from a safe distance.

The council on Thursday asked residents at 120 and the seaward units of 122 and 124 Clovelly Road to move out as a precaution, because of a slip caused by rock failure close to their properties.

This action followed Monday's evacuation of people from the properties at 114, 116 and 118 Clovelly Road, which were directly affected by the rock movement.

The council's economic director, Rick Walden, said the evacuation was precautionary, because the council's geotechnical advisers had advised that when the cliff face did fall, the slip could come close to these dwellings.

The spokeswoman said the council was liaising with its representative at the site. If the situation worsened, the council would take appropriate measures for the safety of the residents, she said.

Residents could not return to their homes but may not know for some time whether their properties would remain standing when the slip finally moved.

The million dollar home of former Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis is in the centre of the slip zone and has already been condemned.

It was "being torn to pieces" as the land moved, with large cracks apparent in the walls, and glass from windows and decking panels shattering.

Mr Walden said yesterday he hoped there would be no more evacuations but it could not be ruled out, as the ground was so unstable.

"Our primary concern is always for people's safety," Mr Walden said.

"We understand that this is distressing for the people involved but life must always take precedence over property."

There was no stabilisation work the council could undertake and it was not a case of if, but when, the crumbling cliff-face collapsed, Mr Walden said.

Geotechnical advisers told the council that weather did not play a part in causing the slip.

"This is the natural process of rocks doing what they do on coastlines. Occasionally they decide to move out to sea."

Sir Barry described his emergency evacuation as "shattering".

Problems with his home began three or four years ago when a small crack developed in the side of the building and was immediately identified as being the result of a landslip, he said.

"But it's really over the past week or 10 days that the landslip has accelerated and has now just destroyed the home."

At the time the first cracks appeared, Sir Barry said he sought "expert advice".

He was unable to elaborate because of legal implications.

Mr Walden said there was no talk at the council over liability for the slip.

Its role was primarily of ensuring the safety of residents and the public, he said.

- NZPA