Even on the most glorious of summer days, concrete boulders and piles of wood line the shingled shore of Haumoana.

The once-vibrant waterfront is now littered with bach corpses. They're eerie reminders of summers past and how little time those remaining have left.

Few residents looking out over the coast remain, the hourglass of the shore trickling away as each wave crashes.

An abandoned property has given way to the elements along the Cape coast. Photo / Paul Taylor
An abandoned property has given way to the elements along the Cape coast. Photo / Paul Taylor

Jo Williams has lived on the beachfront, on Clifton Rd, for the past four years.

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"It just felt like home," she says of the first time she saw the property.

But the ever-angrier sea, emboldened by climate change, has quickly and quietly eaten away at her backyard.

The ground beneath her house is being pulled towards the ocean, she says, gradually cracking the bathroom tiles inside.

An empty property is slowly crumbling away. Photo / Paul Taylor.
An empty property is slowly crumbling away. Photo / Paul Taylor.

"Sometimes, when you're sitting down, you can feel it pulling underneath the house," Williams says.

"You get used to it. I've figured I've got all that back garden to go before it really starts to affect me. But it won't be long."

Her real estate agent believes she's got about a year before she'll have to say goodbye to the rental property.

The last storm to hit propelled large swells over the concrete walls holding the houses back from the sea.

Drone footage captured huge swells crashing over houses in September. Photo / Supplied.
Drone footage captured huge swells crashing over houses in September. Photo / Supplied.

Drone footage, captured on September 9, shows about a dozen coastal properties being hammered by the enormous waves.

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Williams says she didn't realise how serious the storm had been until she watched the video and then looked outside.

"For the first time, my whole backyard - not hugely - was covered in water."

She says it was second to Cyclone Cook, which hit the country in April, 2017.

Boulders line the beach. Photo / Paul Taylor
Boulders line the beach. Photo / Paul Taylor

"It can be scary. When the cyclone hit, the waves were coming up way above the wall and because the winds were so strong, the froth on top was being blown right over the house."

However, the latest storm cut away at the concrete wall, replaced by old tyres and rubbish.

"It was just hanging there." Her landlord replaced the concrete.

"It doesn't matter what you do. Either the wind or the water will get to you unfortunately."

Her neighbours on either side have moved out.

"Just about every house is damaged," she says.

Dramatic aerial footage of high tide and storm seas.

Drone footage of high tide and huge waves on Haumoana foreshore in Hawkes Bay late Sunday afternoon. The power of storm driven ocean waves in action!

Posted by Peak Video on Sunday, 9 September 2018

But hopelessness doesn't pervade Haumoana, there's a fighting spirit too.

A number of houses down, Leyton Broom and Amanda Cleland's pirate-esque abode overlooks Haumoana Beach.

The proximity of the water is what lured them into the rental about seven months ago.

Since then, their once flat lawn and levelled wall is now uneven. Despite that, they don't plan on leaving anytime soon.

Leyton Broom, and Amanda Cleland, are not thinking about leaving anytime soon, despite the ocean and the weather eroding parts of their property. Photo / Paul Taylor.
Leyton Broom, and Amanda Cleland, are not thinking about leaving anytime soon, despite the ocean and the weather eroding parts of their property. Photo / Paul Taylor.

"There's been days when I've gotten tired of being so close to the sea and the tsunami zone ... but the sea life is kinda nice."

Down the road about 5km at Clifton, they're not ready to give up either, and have just put in place a $1.2 million sea wall.

The wall will be funded through a loan, with contributions from the Marine Club and Reserve Society.

It's to safeguard public access to the Clifton boat ramp, the camping ground and the gateway to Cape Kidnappers, one of the region's prime tourist destinations.