Edgecumbe remains under a state of emergency

The Bay of Plenty township of Edgecombe remains under a state of emergency as the Rangitaiki river continues to break through the town's stop banks flooding scores of private properties and forcing thousands of people to take shelter in neighbouring towns.

It was a disaster no one was prepared for.

Edgecombe resident Rachel Davis told Te Kāea, "I can recall at about a quarter to nine hearing a loud roar and I thought I'd missed the rubbish trucks so I went outside with my rubbish containers and I just noticed a river coming through the road".

Mayor Tony Bonne says, "We had our control room 24 hour manned from yesterday afternoon, and we believed up till monrning that we had got through it. No one knew breach was going to happen in Edgecumbe"

By sunrise the town of 600 homes was under water and most 1600 residents had self-evacuated to nearby towns.

Another Edgecombe resident Todd Provan said, "We woke up to a fine day thinking everything was alright, do our washing and all of a sudden the banks broke and come through our fence"

The river rose to unprecedented levels due to a one-in-500-year event.

Locals say they were left with no choice overnight but to help each other.

I did what i had to do, took the initiative to help move some of the tenants especially the elderly because they were stuck"

Police and Defence force efforts ensured no one was left behind. 

"We had a very good co-ordinated effort with jetboats, agricultural machinery and trailers and of course there’s a lot of professionals here and police have been co-ordinating  the rescue effort.” – Mayor Todd Provan.