Dozens of campers fled from the grounds of the Westport Trotting Club as a "mini tsunami" of floodwater flowed into the grounds.
The West Coast of the South Island has been hammered today as the remnants of cyclone Fehi bears down on New Zealand.
The wild weather, king tides and torrential rain were bad news for around 25 campers who had settled down on the grounds of the Westport Trotting Club in preparation for the Buller Gorge Country Music Festival this weekend.
Local Jaydin Shingleton, who was set to perform at the festival over the weekend, helped many of the campers out of their soggy situation.
Shingleton had headed to the grounds this morning with his aunt, knowing some wild weather was due to hit.
"Literally this morning we went down to the beach, driving past the racecourse to do so, and had a wee look around.
"We came back and the water had already taken over the road all through the racecourse."
The 19-year-old described the wave of water as being like a "small tsunami".
"I'm six foot and it was up to my knees," he said.
Shingleton said lots of people had already arrived at the venue for the festival, so he quickly got to work trying to help out campers that had been flooded out.
"We've been trying to get campervans out of the water, get campers to a higher spot while we wait for waters to recede.
"We've got people with fishing rods pretending to fish into the knee deep water."
After helping the festival-goers Shingleton moved on to help others who were in a spot of soggy trouble.
"There were a few scared people," he said.
While the original venue was now better suited for kayaking than live music, Shingleton remained optimistic about the fate of the festival.
He said people had been offering up their paddocks as alternative venues and the show would go on.
Meanwhile, multiple horses were rushed out of their stables at the back of the racing track after the flood of water washed into the grounds.
Westport Trotting Club's vice-president Troy Scanlon didn't make it to the grounds in time to help deal with the chaos when the flooding hit.
The trouble was made worse by the fact the grounds backed on to the Orowaiti River.
"Obviously with a king tide combined with the storm it just poured on to the track," Scanlon said.
Several buildings on the grounds had been completely flooded out, with the tearooms worst affected.
But Scanlon said the horses had escaped unscathed.
"The horses have all been moved to high ground at the track and are very safe now from any more flooding."