When floodwaters came raging through Zameer Khan's Northland home, he knew he had to get his heavily pregnant wife to safety.
The front door wasn't initially an option as the rapidly increasing floodwaters were too strong, so 24-year-old Gazala tried to climb through a window.
When that failed Khan summoned up all his strength, picked up his 34-weeks pregnant wife and waded through the cold, murky, waist-deep water with her in his arms.
Rough weather and heavy rain had been pounding the region since Friday afternoon, flooding houses and businesses and damaging roads during a once-in-500-year storm.
Early on Saturday Khan had just returned to his room after morning prayers when Gazala came to tell him water from the torrential rain was entering their Plunket St house in Moerewa.
"I could hear the rain, but I didn't know how bad the situation was. I made the big mistake of opening the door and soon water just rushed in," the 28-year-old told the Herald.
"My wife was crying, I asked her to jump on my back but because of her pregnant state that's not possible. So I just had to summon all my strength to lift her and find a way out of the house."
The couple had lost their first child three years ago when the baby was just six months old, and Khan said the fear of losing another kept flashing through his mind.
"My wife grabbed the Qu'ran and a teddy bear that is our reminder of the baby we lost, I said a little prayer and just lifted her," said Khan, who works in a halal slaughterhouse.
"It must really have been some divine help because I really don't know where I got my strength from."
Khan walked backwards, so that if he fell, his wife would fall on him. The water was waist-deep and he didn't want his wife to get into the freezing water, fearing it could harm their unborn child or cause a premature birth.
"The water was freezing, and I just felt numb. The water was freezing and waist-high. Two of our cars were underwater, but fortunately a third was on slightly higher ground," he said.
"I then put my car in reverse and thank goodness it moved, and got us safely to our in-laws' place."
Khan said when he reached the car, his arms felt like jelly and he "would have collapsed if a mosquito had landed" on them.
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The couple have a 1-year-old child who is currently with a relative in Auckland.
Khan said he was normally a calm person, but just lost himself when he saw his pregnant wife crying, panicking and shivering.
"I'm guessing most of the things in our house are damaged, but I am thankful we're fine. My wife is a little scared still, but at least she and our baby are all right," Khan said.
"This whole experience is really quite shocking."
Northland is now in clean-up mode after the weather started to ease on Sunday.
The rain has affected water systems across the region and the Whangarei and Far North councils have asked people to conserve water until the damage can be fixed.
Residents in Whangarei are being asked to halve their water use as two of the city's three water treatment plants are just partially working, producing up to 80 per cent of the water normally needed.
Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare, who visited Whangarei to assess the damage on Sunday, said the Government was on standby to help communities affected by the floods.
The temporary water restrictions are expected to last for a week.
The heavy rain has left low-lying farmland underwater and many roads remain impassable.