The idyllic North Canterbury township of Waikuku Beach is mopping up after flooding seeped into homes, garages, and sleepouts today, while torrential rain continues to fall.
Residents of the wider Waikuku area - between Gressons Rd, Coldstream Rd and the Ashley River, including the beach township, taking in around 628 properties – were put on notice earlier today by authorities who said they should be ready to evacuate at any given moment.
The heavy rain and flooding which has sparked a state of emergency for the entire Canterbury region has swollen the Ashley River/Rakahuri from bank to bank, from the foothills where it begins, right down to where it empties into the Pacific Ocean at Waikuku Beach.
The Ashley River estuary rose alarmingly in the high tide last night, lapping at the top of the vast stopbanks.
It has resulted in muddy brown water flooding into some properties, which has residents working around the clock with generators, pumps and hoses to bring down the water levels.
While some of the 800-strong community are plainly upset and angered by today's flooding, others have taken a philosophical approach.
Lifelong Waikuku resident Andrew Gale had been running a water pump for several hours when the Herald visited this afternoon after water filled his backyard, garage and sleepout.
"Just last night it came up ... but it's part of living on a swampy, coastal area isn't it? What do you expect?" Gale said.
"The biggest worry was the stopbank breaching but that looks like it's held up pretty good."
It last breached in 1953, Gale reckons, causing his father to build the foundations of the Park Tce house his son now lives above that floodline.
His water pumps are gushing water out of his property and slowly bringing down the water levels.
But down the road, it's an even bleaker story.
Properties just over the stopbank which separates them from the Ashley River Estuary are surrounded by water which has lapped inside properties.
Mum-of-two Katie Gray was worried about the high tide last night and saw it come to within half a metre of the stopbank top.
About 10pm last night, she decided to move the children – aged 2 and 7 months - to stay with grandparents in nearby Pegasus. They were excited to have a night adventure.
In the morning, she came back to see how her house was.
"Unfortunately, the water had been flowing through these houses here and the garage is all flooded out," Gray said.
"Thankfully the house is all right. We would've been 10-15cms away from coming in through the house."
Water has seeped through neighbouring garages and even into some bedrooms.
There is a strong community spirit evident, with neighbours and strangers pitching in to help pump water out of the row of flooded properties.
Gray fears it'll take "a good few weeks" for the water to completely drain away.
But she's still grateful to live in a beautiful part of the world.
"On a great day, it's amazing. We'll be okay."