An East Coast family have been rescued after spending four hours on the roof of their home following flooding in Tolaga Bay.

Two adults and their 4-year-old grandchild were airlifted by helicopter to safety this morning after their house was flooded and their woolshed washed away.

Tairawhiti Civil Defence Emergency Management group controller John Clarke said the three people were reported to be safe and well now with family, after being trapped on their roof since about 4am.

"The couple was wet and tired and the child is being assessed for hypothermia," he said.


"They have been taken to family where they have been given a shower and assessed, otherwise they are fine and safe and off the roof which wouldn't have been a pleasant experience."

Another two households about 8km up Tauwhareparae Rd are trapped in their homes with flooding all around.

"We know there is one family of seven who are isolated. They are not on the roof but their house is surrounded and they have no road access in or out, so we are looking at them and possibly another household, as to whether it is wise to take them out by helicopter as well," Clarke said.

About 20 people were evacuated from houses around the area and are being housed at Mangatuna Marae.

State Highway 2 at Mangatuna Rd north of Tolaga Bay has been closed.

Emergency manager Louise Bennett said earlier the couple, who live on Mangatokerau Rd, believed the water was receding when a loud noise preceded another surge in the river close to their home.

"They managed to get on to the roof of their house to await assistance. Tolaga Bay is the worst-affected area at the moment," she said.

Civil Defence and its Uawa Community Link groups have been called to their rescue.


Rivers in the Tolaga Bay area had risen rapidly since midnight. Civil Defence believes the rivers were close to their peak but more rain is forecast today.

The rain is also believed to have affected some residents this morning at Makorori Rd and Okitu.

Motorists are advised to stay home unless travel is essential, and to check the roads before travelling.

Tolaga Bay was one of many places affected by heavy rain over the weekend, along with Northland, Auckland, Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty.

One Katikati family had to wade through rising flood waters to evacuate after heavy rain in the afternoon.

There was also flooding at Papamoa Beach, Te Puke, Mount Maunganui, Otumoetai and Katikati.

A Fire and Emergency spokesman said there had been just under 200 callouts in the northern region by 7pm, most coming in after noon.

The Western Bay of Plenty District Council also fielded between 15 and 20 flooding-related calls as of 7pm from residents in Katikati, Waihi Beach and Omokoroa.

Pakuranga residents were among the worst hit in Auckland, while flash flooding on Waiheke Island swamped the road outside the ferry terminal.