"It's just disheartening, really words just can't describe it."
Stu Murray and his wife Francine first look at their Bluff Rd property at Sheffield, 50km west of Christchurch, since they were forced to evacuate on Sunday night.
The farmhouse, sleepout and garage were all flooded, with 30cm of water up the wall.
"There is silt through the office, the bathroom, and the laundry," Stu told the Herald.
The drama unfolded on Sunday morning when the heavy downpour set in.
"When we got up in the morning there was water all around the house.
"By two or three in the afternoon we knew we would probably have to leave to be safe – because we didn't want to leave in the dark," said Francine.
All the stock had been pushed up on the hill on Saturday and were safe.
But the nearby Hawkins River continued to rise and burst its banks at the bridge on Watsons Rd and headed straight for the Murrays' farm and homestead.
"The river started to flow through the property and we just made a call late Sunday afternoon to get everything up high and abandon the house," Stu said.
"When it started lapping at the front door we decided to abandon, so we disconnected all the power, put everything up that we could, put the cats in the hayshed and grabbed our dogs," said Francine.
As they escaped the local fire brigade was assessing the road at the farm gate, which was being washed away.
Stu and Francine holed up for the night at a farm cottage a kilometre down the road and out of the flood zone.
Yesterday morning they bravely returned to see the damage and what was left.
"It came through the garage principally and the entrance to the house and we think it came up underneath the floor, and floorboards are wooden so I think it came up under the house," said Francine.
Such was the force of the water, a big chest freezer full of meat had been tipped on its side and smashed through the back door of the garage.
"A brand-new pair of boots were on the freezer and they have gone," Stu laughs.
"They were washed away and I am walking around in some holey welly gumboots – so my feet have been wet through for two days.
"There is shingle everywhere, silt everywhere, firewood from other properties, baleage that has gone into the fences."
The Murrays'' farm on 52 hectares has 300 merino ewes, 90 Cheviot stud ewes, 320 finishing lambs and 40 rams. They have another 10 hectares further up Bluff Rd.
Stu reckoned more than 300ml of rain had fallen on the property.
"All the fences have been smashed, the ground is just saturated through."
"We can't repair fences because of the weight of the debris on the fences, we have to leave that to dry out," said Francine.
"We had two firewood trees chopped down and they have been washed away I don't know where they have gone."
Even potted plants that were planted in the garden around the house two weeks ago popped out of the ground with the force of the water.
"It's pretty disheartening, there is a lot of work to do," said Francine.
They blame the council for the narrow bridge and waterway at Watsons Rd, where the river burst its banks.
"Despite frequent requests to the council to build a bigger bridge from all the local people, it has not happened. It has built up like a dam and burst and the torrent of water has come through."
Despite that, Stu Murray says they were lucky: "We haven't lost any stock and nobody has lost their life and that is the main thing.
"The priority is to make sure the stock is all fed and get the fences up on our green feed so the grass will come away again the spring.
"We will attack the house and the tidying-up that is going to be a long process, a drawn-out process."
They will have to wait for the water to subside before insurance assessors can come in.
They reckon it will be weeks before they will move back home.
The full extent of the damage won't be known until the property fully dries out.