Residents of a Kohimarama apartment block who feared for their lives after their properties were struck by a landslide have now been targeted by looters.

Unit owner Craig Jones, who was forced to move out of his apartment after a two-metre mud flow poured into his home on April 4, said less than 24 hours later he had to ward off a loitering "vulture".

"The looter turned up 20 minutes after the police left, who were there overnight. I caught someone hopping over the back fence. I challenged them and he scarpered, he got on his bike and took off," Jones said.

"He had a high-visibility jacket on trying to blend in with the other people who were on site. I just challenged him and said 'Who are you with? What are you doing here?'


"He started to make up a story so I asked what company he was with and challenged him again. He jumped the fence and took off on his bike. It doesn't take very long for the vultures to circle."

Jones, 45, said in light of the "unwelcome visitor" residents had hired a security guard to keep watch. Most residents, he said, have already moved back in helping bolster security - while the two apartments deemed temporarily uninhabitable have been secured and "completely gutted" for repair work.

Police said they were not aware of any formal complaints regarding the suspicious activity and advising people to call police on 111 in any such event.

Jones, who was alone in his unit of the San Remo Apartments when the cliff behind the block collapsed at 8pm on April 4, said while the building had been assessed and deemed structurally sound, he's faced with a two-week wait before the Earthquake Commission are able to do an assessment and trigger a formal insurance process.

"It's going slowly. I'm in there going through what needs to be replaced, measuring things up and looking what the costs might be. It all takes time, EQC are flat out so we're not going to see them until the end of the month, we'll know a little bit more then," he said.

"Most of the mud has been cleared out and it's a case of trying to dry it all out now and get rid of all the remaining residue. It was a couple of metres deep around the door area and corridors."

The scene at Craig Jones' house at the San Remo apartments in Kohimarama after a large slip fell onto the apartment block. Image supplied by Craig Jones.
The scene at Craig Jones' house at the San Remo apartments in Kohimarama after a large slip fell onto the apartment block. Image supplied by Craig Jones.

Until his home can be deemed habitable again, Jones said he is having to hunker down at his parents' place while he tried to find a short-term rental option.

But with more bad weather hitting over the past week, he said there were also concerns of whether more earth could slip from the cliff.


This month's slip came after extremely heavy localised rain.

"It just sounded like a freight train, it was just a phenomenal sound.

"I was lucky I only got knocked over. It didn't go right over my entire body, so I had a lucky escape. If I had been closer to the door, it could have come down on top of me and I would have got smothered."

Meanwhile, residents of a further 229 houses in flood-ravaged Edgecumbe were allowed home yesterday.

Whakatane district mayor Tony Boone said it was an emotional return, saying some of the homes had been "flooded in depth" by flood waters last week.

As the clean-up continues over the Easter weekend, the MetService said those living in the Bay of Plenty should expect showers before the return of some sunshine on Tuesday.

Elsewhere around the country showers, some heavy, would hang around Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga until Tuesday followed by fine spells and highs ranging between 20 and 22 until Thursday.

In the Hawkes Bay where Cyclone Cook took its toll late last - and in Wellington - some showers could be expected today and tomorrow with heavier showers developing and a southerly change on Monday and Tuesday. The fine weather would arrive Wednesday.

Fine spells and showers were expected for much of the South Island.