Residents of the coastal Bay of Plenty town of Matatā have been wrestling recently with the continuing impact of an extreme weather event nearly 15 years ago. On May 18, 2005 more than 300 mm of rain fell on the area in 24 hours, bringing boulders, logs and other debris down the Waitepuru and Awatarariki streams out of the hills to the town's south-west. The debris wiped out several roads, destroyed 27 houses and damaged nearly a hundred more, and all up caused around $20 million worth of mayhem.

The flow down the Awatarariki at the town's western edge was


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