Swamped by record flood­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - MATT STE­WART

Johnny Gay knew he was in trou­ble when rag­ing wa­ter knocked over a high perime­ter fence and flooded his home, leav­ing him stranded in a sea of filthy wa­ter.

Homes in the Pau­ata­hanui and Judge­ford ar­eas of Porirua took the full brunt of Tues­day’s kingtide fu­elled floods.

Gay’s fam­ily home at Judge­ford be­came an is­land as it was swamped by the fast-ris­ing flood­wa­ters on Tues­day.

Part­ner Kate Bryson said there were mo­ments when she feared for her life, won­der­ing if the house might be pushed off its foun­da­tions.

‘‘It was scary to think how high the wa­ter was go­ing to get but I was sure the house was solid.’’

Surg­ing at 80 cu­bic me­tres a sec­ond, the Pau­ata­hanui Stream recorded its biggest flood­ing since records be­gan in 1975, Greater Wellington Regional Coun­cil fig­ures show.

Bryson, Gay and his mum Sue were in the house as con­trac­tors tried to lift them out with a digger, but to no avail.

When he re­alised the king tide was push­ing the surg­ing wa­ter higher, he knew the wa­ter was com­ing in­side.

‘‘But at the end of the day noone’s hurt. We’re look­ing at get­ting the house jacked up even more and mak­ing it into a Queens­lan­der in the mid­dle of Judge­ford,’’ Gay said.

Flood­wa­ters rose about 25cm in­side the house, de­stroy­ing elec­tri­cal goods and dam­ag­ing fur­nish­ings and chil­dren’s toys.

Neigh­bours and con­trac­tors joined in the cleanup on Wed­nes­day, sal­vaging house­hold items and pulling out sod­den gib board.

‘‘We are re­ally over­whelmed by how every­one has pulled to­gether to help us,’’ Bryson said.

Down the road in Pau­ata­hanui, con­trac­tor Richard Ren­shaw, who lives in the flood plain near the vil­lage, fared lit­tle bet­ter.

Ren­shaw lives in an el­e­vated house bounded by a stream, with the Pau­ata­hanui In­let within about a kilo­me­tre at high tide.

He raised the house, built in 1867, about two me­tres af­ter the area was hit by floods in 2004, and was amazed when Tues­day’s flood started lap­ping over his doorstep as it im­mersed a chil­dren’s swing set out­side.

He sus­pects mas­sive earth­works on the nearby Trans­mis­sion Gully road­ing project may have changed the land­scape, mak­ing the area more flood prone.

The wa­ters peaked about 3.30pm and were flow­ing at a rapid 74 cu­bic me­tres per sec­ond, he said.

Five of his chick­ens drowned while thou­sands of dol­lars worth of ma­chin­ery and ap­pli­ances are ru­ined on the silt cov­ered prop­erty.

CAMERON BUR­NELL/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Filthy flood­wa­ters surged into Johnny Gay’s Pau­ata­hanui house.

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