A Rotorua mother who woke to find a violent, mud-spurting pool in her backyard cannot move back to the property as it stands.
Susan Gedye was renting in Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, where she operated her beauty business from home, and lived there with her toddler and a 12-year-old boy in her care.
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What she thought was an earthquake at 2am on June 25 was in fact mud erupting under pressure from underground steam on a bank on the edge of the property.
The family had to move out later that day, and have been living at Susan's father's Ōwhata home for the three months since.
The house was issued with a dangerous building notice and deemed uninhabitable in July.
The Rotorua Lakes Council said this was because of the house's proximity to the mud pool and the danger this posed to the building's occupants.
Now, in order to be habitable, the section and building need to be deemed safe by technical specialists to meet all legal requirements under the Building Act.
The property owner told the Rotorua Daily Post he was going through the Earthquake Commission claims process and did not want to comment.
Gedye said "it was like a fire hydrant had exploded" when the mud pool first formed, and her immediate concerns were an eruption under the house.
She said Rotorua Lakes Council staff were there within minutes and the fire department inspected the house, before giving the family the all-clear to stay the rest of the night.
When Gedye woke at 7.30am there was "a whole team" onsite.
"The mud pool got bigger and bigger by the hour. By 2pm it was clear it would be best for us to go ... So we just immediately packed up and got on with it. There was not any time to feel sorry for myself, getting upset wasn't going to do anything."
Gedye said she and the children settled in quickly with her father, and her business is back on track.
At first she set up a space for clients in the lounge but now she has a new beauty room at the back of the property.
"We have kind of had to embrace it. All of my clients and friends and family - even people I didn't know - showed so much love and support. It was really neat to see."
Her insurance company approached her after seeing her in the news to tell her she was eligible for emergency accommodation help - Gedye hadn't had time to ring them at that point.
Despite the fact she is still sorting through her things that were hurriedly thrown in the car, "things have worked out pretty well".
"I don't have much to complain about. What's the point of sitting around thinking 'woe is me', you have just got to pick yourself up and carry on."
Daniel Hurihanganui, who lives next door to the now-vacant property on Meade St, said the mud pool stopped firing about two weeks after it first appeared.
"It is not really something that you can do much about at the end of the day."
He thought someone was "firing a cannon" when he woke to the shaking house and bursting mud.
"But when I opened the door I knew straight away what had happened," he told the Rotorua Daily Post this week.
He said despite the "scary" experience initially, the pool next door had little effect on his own property.
"The mud was splattering on Susan's house and flowing down the hill."
GNS Science volcanologist Brad Scott said one of the key factors behind the wet mud pool was heat flow coming to the surface, and there was no way of predicting when this would happen again and how long it would last.
He said to form a mud pool, there also needed to be steam, groundwater, and time for groundwater to form an acidic solution that turned soils to clay and mud.
"Usually once a mud pool environment is established it remains for a long time. This one is unique in the way the heat flow cycles on and off, and how groundwater was trapped at the top of a cliff to make the acid."
There were no infrastructure service lines running through the area of the mud pool.
The power lines to the house were disconnected at the street pole early on due to fears the pole would fall into it.
Mayor Steve Chadwick speaks to media about the new mud poolPosted by Rotorua Daily Post on Tuesday, 25 June 2019
At a media stand-up when the mud pool first appeared, Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said "We [the council] bump into these hotspots frequently ... Absolutely, these add complication to town planning, for all infrastructure under the ground."
At the stand-up, geothermal safety officer Peter Brownbridge said a fault line ran along the back of the property.
Mud pool media stand up with Rotorua Lakes CouncilPosted by Rotorua Daily Post on Tuesday, 25 June 2019
Brownbridge said the risk of ground collapse was "quite high" but there was no immediate risk of the shed collapsing.
When asked what the likelihood of occupants returning to the house was, he said:
"At the moment, it probably won't happen but one of the characteristics of these events is they happen very quickly and they just as quickly die away.
"At the moment there is probably no reason for them not to move back in if it doesn't get any worse."
EQC deputy chief executive Renee Walker said the commission had only received one hydrothermal claim in the year to August 30.
She said in instances like that in Meade St, as long as tenants like the Gedyes have a private insurance policy for contents that includes fire cover, they may have cover from EQC for personal contents, which have been physically lost or damaged as a result of a natural disaster.
"This includes hydrothermal activity, however, excludes storms and floods which EQC only covers for land damage. It's important to note though that from July 1 2019, EQC no longer provides cover for contents."
She said generally, for property owners in instances like that in Meade St, if they had a contract for fire insurance with their private insurer, they would have EQC cover for physical loss or damage of their dwelling and legal structures, regardless of whether the site had been deemed uninhabitable or not afterwards.
"EQC cover is also available for defined areas of residential land ... when there is a home insurance policy in place."