More than 200 Edgecumbe residents are finally heading home more than seven days after the Rangitaiki River bank burst.

"A whole big section of Edgecumbe are allowed to go back at midday today," Whakatane District Mayor Tony Bonne said.

"All those people will be allowed in and if your house is in the dry zone you are allowed to go in and stay in."

Of the 216 properties, 174 had not suffered flood damage so residents would be able to reoccupy their homes permanently.


The other 42 homes were significantly flood-damaged and people living in those homes would have temporary access today to pick up essential items and assess damage.

They would then be asked go to the Edgecumbe Hall to contact support people who could help with information and advice on home repairs.

People living on Tawa St, Kauri St, Kowhai Ave, Kanuka Place, Main St, Totara St, Ngaio Place, Matai St and Rimu St could go to either of the check-in points at the northern and southern ends of Main St from midday today, where their details would be quickly checked before they accessed their homes.

Resident Ryan Topperwien was able to get back into his house earlier this week and was pleased to find no water damage inside.

Others have not been as lucky and have returned home to find "No go" written on their windows and everything inside destroyed.