Monique Ward was at home with her family when floodwater started rapidly rising.
Ward rounded up her animals and tried to get some belongings to higher ground.
The house was quickly swamped.
Neighbours came to help as Ward's husband, Matt, was left clinging to a tree after being swept away by floodwater.
With help from a neighbour, he wound up on top of a woodshed before being rescued in a dinghy.
Ward said she was grateful others in Paradise Valley had rallied around to help the couple, but was disappointed other "rubber-neckers" sat nearby and watched.
"There was up to 20 people sitting there getting in the way."
Ward said this was the worst flooding she'd seen in the area and it had taken a long time to drain away.
"The weather is changing and becoming a lot more wilder than usual."
Ward said her property became flooded about 1pm so was surprised to hear the Ngongotaha Stream only breached almost three hours later.
"There must have been a blockage somewhere down there."
Ward said the Bay of Plenty Regional Council had previously subsidised work on the stream near their property, making a corner more stable, but she believed it needed redoing.