Life is slowly returning to normal for the man who owns the worst-hit property on the worst-hit street in the Moerewa flood.

Silt- and sewage-tainted water entered the home of Skip Kidwell, who lives on Pembroke St, when the Waiharakeke and Ōtiria streams overflowed and gushed down the main streets of Otiria and Moerewa on July 17 and 18.

During a visit from Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare, Kidwell said it was the first time in the past four floods that water had been inside his house. It had destroyed whiteware, soaked floors and bedding, and made the toilet unusable.

Skip Kidwell surveys his flooded Pembroke St property in Moerewa on July 19. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Skip Kidwell surveys his flooded Pembroke St property in Moerewa on July 19. Photo / Peter de Graaf

When the Advocate called around again on Tuesday everything but the back wash house had dried out. The lawn had reverted to grass instead of a brown lake and family members had helped take away the wrecked freezer, washing machine, dryer and lawnmower.

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The upside of this flood was how quickly his property had drained, thanks to volunteers from the Kawakawa Fire Brigade pumping out his garden.

''That was the best thing this time, the water's gone at the same time as everyone else. I'm not watching the water around my house while everyone else is dry.''

By Monday after the flood, Kidwell was able to start cleaning up in earnest, on the Tuesday he mowed the grass with a borrowed mower, and on Wednesday his flooded septic tank was pumped out.

He had stayed in his house throughout with two mokopuna aged 4 and 6.

''At first, they were a bit scared but we turned it into a game. Some eels came through, we started spotlighting them. That changed their attitude.''

Skip Kidwell talks to Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare and Moerewa community leader Pamela-Anne Ngohe-Simon on July 19. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Skip Kidwell talks to Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare and Moerewa community leader Pamela-Anne Ngohe-Simon on July 19. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Kidwell said he had received some funding from Civil Defence, which he had used to replace his mokos' bedding and clothing, and to restock the cupboards.

He had been offered assistance through the Ministry of Social Development to replace his appliances but it came in the form of an advance so would be deducted from his benefit.

Kidwell said it was time, after four floods in 16 years, the Northland Regional Council took steps to reduce the problem.

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He believed the lion's share of funding went to Whangārei, then Paihia and Kerikeri, leaving little to trickle through to Kawakawa and Moerewa.

If there was another flood he also hoped portaloos and skip bins would be ready straight away.

''It was pretty hard telling the mokos not to use the toilet. But we're good. As long as the mokos are happy and back at school, I'm happy."

■ As of last weekend, 65 flood-affected homes in the Whangārei District had been inspected, with four declared dangerous. The total number of homes affected around Northland is likely to be higher because insurance companies are working with insured property owners, who may not come up on the Civil Defence radar.

About 150 septic tanks have been pumped out in the Moerewa area and emergency accommodation has been provided to 25 people. Others made their own accommodation arrangements during the flood.

With more rain possible this weekend, Civil Defence is keeping a wary eye on the weather forecast. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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