Residents of the flood-devastated Eastern Bay of Plenty town of Matata last night spoke of their desperation for news of compensation at a public meeting about the town's future.

More than 200 people packed the Awakaponga Hall to hear the findings of a preliminary hazards and risk report.

Residents were to be given the chance to ask questions after a presentation on the report, commissioned by the Whakatane District Council.

Many whose properties were destroyed said they hoped for news about compensation.

Michele Beach wanted to know how much money or replacement land her family could expect.

"I'd like to know what we're in for, so we can start making goals for the future."

Expensive dams and embankments were proposed to help protect Matata from further flood and landslide destruction.

Whatever options are decided on, the face of the small township will be vastly different from before the May 18 deluge of rain, mud and debris.

More than 100 houses were damaged and 31 homeowners have been told their properties are unsuitable for rebuilding.

The exceptional rainfall, estimated to be a one in 200-to-500-year event, triggered landslips from the hills behind the town.

Huge boulders, logs, mud and silt moved at about 5m to 10m a second. Experts cannot rule out the same thing happening again.

The report, prepared by Tonkin & Taylor, outlined options for works near Matata's main streams and other areas not previously considered to be at risk. It included 11 options for debris control for the three main streams through Matata - the Awatarariki, Waimea and Waitepuru.

Project costs range from $600,000 to "clean up and retreat from the hazard" to $7.2 million to build dams in all three streams.

Applause rang out when a man expressed anger at the council's presentation, saying it provided no definitive answers for owners of destroyed properties.

The options were not detailed enough and he pleaded for more time for locals to make submissions.

Whakatane Mayor Colin Holmes said the council was working as fast as it could.