A man whose family survived massive floods in Tolaga Bay has described their harrowing ordeal and what made them decide to get onto the roof of their house.

Paul Te Kira, his partner and their 4-year-old granddaughter huddled for hours on top of their home when heavy rain in the area caused huge flooding early on Monday morning.

Te Kira told the Herald they had seen many floods before, so did not think too much it at the time.

"It sort of wasn't a big deal until we heard a massive rumble and a wall of water and wood came through and started smashing through the house.

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"It took out the shed and cars all took off and floated away," he said.

"That's when it sort of got a bit real and that's when we decided we've got to get out of here and get up on the roof."

Paul Te Kira survived the Tolaga Bay floods over the weekend by climbing onto his roof to be rescued by helicopter. Photo / Alan Gibson
Paul Te Kira survived the Tolaga Bay floods over the weekend by climbing onto his roof to be rescued by helicopter. Photo / Alan Gibson

Te Kira said there was some panic as he and his partner raced to get everyone on the roof as quickly as possible.

"It was stressful, I suppose.

"But once we were up there, it was just hang on and hope the house was going to stay there and not float away."

Te Kira said it was only when they were huddled on the roof that they saw the devastation around them.

"We sort of already knew what we were going to go back to."

The family was now trying to get back into their normal routine. Their little girl was back at school and his partner was at work today.

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His partner, however, was struggling.

"But she'll get through - we'll get through.''

Te Kira said they would be rebuilding their home over the next few years, but not in the basin.

"We will rebuild - but up on the hill.''