Ana-Jean Vaioleti's life depends on getting to Kaitaia Hospital three times a week for dialysis.
So when the highway was swept away in a flash flood, the 74-year-old knew it was time to put her emergency plan into action.
On Saturday afternoon police came knocking at her door at Ngataki, about 10km north of Pukenui, offering to take her to Kaitaia Hospital by four-wheel-drive — but she told them she was fine, thank you, and her husband was about to drive her through the forest.
Despite living next to Aupouri Forest they had never tried driving through it. She admitted to a few nervous moments wondering if they were going the right way.
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''They say you need permission but who listens to that when you're in dire straits? It's such a long way — we could have driven to Whangarei in the same time — but you don't go fast, you just take your time. We would have found a way somehow, through the forest or on the beach.''
She is now staying with her daughter, Jon Vaueli, in Kaitaia. She had a dialysis session yesterday and will head home again her last treatment of the week on Friday.
''It's been a bit of an adventure actually, I've quite enjoyed it.''
Ms Vaueli said the family discussed the situation on Friday night and decided to bring her mother to Kaitaia via the forest after church on Saturday.
They had long had an emergency plan for situations such as floods or downed trees, though it was complicated by the lack of phone coverage and internet in the first days after the washout.
''The lord blessed us and we all got here safely.''