The clean-up has begun for residents along the storm stricken Gisborne coast.

Locals woke up to a rough, yet calmer sea which had yesterday seen the forced evacuation of about 100 residents in the district.

Thirty-two of those were from Anuara Bay, about an hour north of Gisborne, whose homes were at risk of being swamped by the sea.

But they were returning home this morning while locals at Tologa Bay were in clean-up mode.

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Nori Parata, Tologa Bay Civil Defence warden and school principal, said although there was a bit of debris in both towns there was no further concern about the storm.

"The surf's still a bit high but not as high as yesterday ... other than that I think that the Gods were looking after us because it really did have the potential to be a lot worse than it was."

She said there'd also been a good attendance by pupils at school today who were all sharing their "best Pam story".

Down the road at the beach, locals Paulene Grant and Joanne Manuel were clearing the road of debris, which included large pieces of driftwood.

Miss Manuel, who had returned home after 12 years in Wellington, described yesterday's storm as "pretty scary".

"I didn't want to go out. It was really rough ... I was waiting to bolt over the bridge."

However, Ms Grant wasn't bothered and said she was used to it.

"It didn't really faze me. I had faith, I guess."

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At the adjacent Tologa Bay Surf Club, huge logs - some up to seven metres long - were now resting on the embankment while the approximate 15m wooden walking platform had been pushed back up to the surf club entrance by the ocean's force.

A local sheep and beef farmer, who lives on the hills about 20 minutes from town, said he was pleased to see the rain as his farm was bone dry.

The man, who did not want to be named, said he received about 170ml which he said would "set me right".

Further down the road at the wharf is the Tologa Bay Holiday Park.

Owner Katrina Brooker was busy cleaning up after the estuary, which sits to the rear of the property, breached the stop banks and flooded two cabins and the camp kitchen.

She said it was the first time in her and husband, Mike's, 14-year ownership that they had been flooded.

"We were too busy watching the [sea] to make sure that didn't come over and didn't notice the estuary."

Despite the flooding, she said they escaped relatively unscathed.

"We feared reasonably well actually. We were expecting it to come from the northeast but it came from the south which was great, otherwise we would have been hammered."