Heavy rain and the highest tide so far this year have caused problems around Greymouth on the West Coast.
Water gushed into four homes in the suburb of Karoro after creeks overflowed south of the town on Thursday morning.
Those waters receded, but a short time later Sawyers Creek in mid-Greymouth started rising rapidly, lapping at the doors of several houses. It was kept at bay with sandbags.
Grey District Council chief executive Paul Pretorius says morning rain was extremely heavy and the high tide of 3.6 metres is the highest this year to date.
Mr Pretorius says the problems were caused by flash surface flooding. The first warning on the town's flood wall was activated, but the two-metre water level increase was not considered to be significant.
He said the water abated quickly and reports from property owners to date are mainly for silt and debris damage.
Homeowner Leanne Hunt says silt, clay and gravel-laden water reached one metre in the bottom storey of her house.
Ms Hunt says the water was extremely dirty and it is not the first time that flooding has swamped her property. She believes the fault lies with an inadequate stormwater drainage system that she says does not cope with extreme weather.
Severe weather warnings for heavy rain and wind remain in force for much of New Zealand on Thursday.