A Whangārei woman has had to evacuate from her hillside Tikipunga home after a section of land near her home started to sink.
Fire crews and police arrived at the Amy Kate St property this afternoon after reports of someone being trapped in a house on top of land that was about to give way.
It was later confirmed that Kathy Pope, the resident, was not trapped but had noticed this morning that the ground under the north-west corner of her house had subsided, creating a gap of about 150-200 millimetres between the ground and the house.
"I couldn't quite believe it, I honestly couldn't believe it," Pope said.
"When I went outside, I thought, 'Oh my god, the house is going to fall down the hill'."
Described by MetService as a once-in-500-year storm, 220mm of rain fell on Whangārei last night causing major disruption today with slips and landslides that closed roads and limited water supplies.
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Pope said she had even joked with a friend yesterday about the possible effect of the extensive rainfall on her home.
"[My friend] was talking about the thunder and lightening and I said to her, 'my house could end up down the hill', as a joke and what do they say, 'don't speak words in jest'."
Understandably shaken, Pope said she had rung the fire service before exiting the property with her late husband's ashes, who had only passed a few months ago, along with some treasured photos.
"I don't know how I'm feeling. It'll hit me later."
The bottom of Amy Kate St had been cordoned off to encourage people to stay away from the area below the house.
Whangārei Fire Service senior station officer Brad Cunningham said the house had been cordoned off and all nearby residents had been notified of the land subsidence.
Cunningham said they would wait for expert advice by way of a geotechnical report. While he acknowledged his lack of expertise regarding land subsidence, Cunningham believed the house would not slide down the hill.
Whangārei Police Sergeant Rachel Wood said the house was definitely not safe to be in currently and a report was necessary to determine the next steps.
Wood said all nearby residents had been informed of the incident and advised that they should probably leave their homes if possible until the report was done. However, Wood said all residents baring Kathy had remained in their homes.
Wood said it was important for everyone to stay vigilant and keep an eye out for any land subsidence after last night's rainfall.