Flooding is causing havoc in parts of Tauranga as rising tides and extreme rain hit the city.
Campers are surrounded at Silver Birch Holiday Park on Turret Rd as water laps across the road near Hairini Bridge.
The Wairoa River in Te Puna has also broken its banks, flooding Te Puna Station Rd. The road is now closed and traffic is backed up. Parts of Maketu have also been flooded.
Tauranga flights have also been diverted.
Matua resident George Corban said the Matua Estuary was the highest he had seen since living in the area since 1964.
"I can see the water right up into the swamp and along the boardwalk along the Matua Estuary," Mr Corban said.
"I would say it's the highest it's been [in decades]," he said.
At least two flights scheduled to land at Tauranga Airport today have had to be diverted away from the city.
Tauranga Airport manager Ray Dumble said three or four flights managed to land at Tauranga Airport this morning.
However, at least two flights - including one coming from Christchurch, had to be diverted due to the cross winds, which reached 45 knots.
He said the flights were diverted to Rotorua and Hamilton.
He said winds were likely to reach 50 knots until about 7pm.
Tauranga Airport was still open and it would be up to the airlines to cancel or divert flights, Dumble said.
Silver Birch proprietor Tony Makai said he also had never seen the water reach this height.
''It's creeping up, we have had two [campers] move a couple of tents and one person in a cabin is unable to get out, but they are in good spirits.''
Makai said water was lapping over the bridge but cars were still able to use the road.
A reporter at the scene said a park bench and rubbish bin were under water near the 14th Ave entry to Turret Rd.
He said cars were still going over the road slowly and traffic was starting to build up.
Parts of Tauranga's industrial area have also been swamped as local waterways break their banks.
People on Oak Lane, Judea, are wading through the water and moving their cars. Businesses including Tga Box have been flooded.
Steve Chambers was assessing the damage to his business and home near Oak Lane when high tide hit at 10.30am.
Chambers had lived there for about five years and said he had not been flooded like this before.
Chambers said about 50ml of water had gone inside his building and he was about to check the damage inside his storage shed which he said was flooded.
Aaron Sheely from Trendz Homes had put concrete bags up against the wall in a panic.
"I was about to go for a workout next door but I'm not now," he said.
Sheely said it took about 10 minutes before his business was flooded right through.
"We will wait until after high tide and then start ripping everything out."
Pink batts and product had been damaged by the water.
"We are just hopeful everything important is off the ground."
Te Puke and Maketu ward councillor Kevin Marsh said there were incredibly large breaker waves at the usually calm estuary and the local diving board, normally about 3m out of the water, could barely be seen.
At Te Puna Station Rd, Waipuna Hospice chief Richard Thurlow said staff were moving cars from the main entrance of the hospice where the main flooding was.
He said there was no damage inside and there wasn't too much water around the building.
"This is the first time we have flooded like this, usually it flows down the back but the river has breached a bit higher up."
Thurlow said the car park had been raised and designed so the hospice would not flood.
More than 70mm of rain has already fallen in the past 24 hours and weather authorities warn there is plenty more to come.
A severe weather warning has been issued by the MetService, which recorded a total of 62.4mm of rain in Tauranga yesterday. This morning there had been 9mm of rain already fallen in the early hours.
From 12pm today, at least another 20mm is expected. Most of the rain is forecast to fall between midday and 2pm and again at 8pm.
Metservice also warned of strong winds, with severe gale northeasterlies expected in the Bay of Plenty.
MetService stated in its warning the combination of strong winds and high tides could cause coastal inundation, especially about eastern areas from Northland to Bay of Plenty, including the Firth of Thames.
The weather has been caused by a deep low crossing central New Zealand but this is expected to move away to the southeast of the country tomorrow when winds and rain should ease.
Niwa also warned of gale to storm force wind gusts about the upper and western North Island, which includes the Bay of Plenty. These are expected to linger into the afternoon as the strong subtropical storm makes landfall near Taranaki about lunchtime.
-Bay of Plenty Times