17 Mar 2015

Locals begin clean-up in Anaura Bay

8:11 pm on 17 March 2015

Locals in Anaura Bay are back in their homes and cleaning up after the tail-end of tropical storm Pam.

Kahu Brown

Kahu Brown is glad to be home after being evacuated from Anaura Bay yesterday. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

More on Cyclone Pam in the Pacific

About 30 people - virtually everyone who lives in Anaura Bay - were evacuated yesterday, among more than 100 people who left their homes on various parts of the coast north of Gisborne.

Kahu Brown began the day yesterday sitting back and watching the storm unfold from her beachfront house in Anaura Bay, before she was evacuated

The five metre swells were a sight to behold, she said.

"They were huge, and they got bigger and bigger as the day went on, towards about two or three o'clock in the afternoon, they were just huge," she said.

"Well, you can see where it went down here and around the back of the house, in through the doors and out through the garage."

The tomato plants in Ms Brown's garden are ruined, and her lawn is a mess, with the logs she uses as seats lifted by waves and pushed up towards her house.

"Look at the fence, it's completely pushed over, and the next door neighbour's fence is just gone," she said.

She was among the locals who joined with contractors today clearing away driftwood and debris from homes at Anaura Bay, Hicks Bay, Te Araroa and Waima.

Anaura residents gathering around at Kahu Brown's house after cleaning up after the storm.

Anaura residents gathering around at Kahu Brown's house after cleaning up after the storm. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Owner of Anaura Bay Motor Camp Dona and Victor Jacobs.

Anaura Bay Motor Camp owners Dona and Victor Jacobs Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Victor and Dona Jacobs own the Anaura Bay Motor Camp.

"We just used our intuition and sat here until about high tide yesterday, then got out of here ... went over the hill ... came back after high tide and water was lapping over the banks here," he said.

They feel lucky to have got away unscathed.

"We were expecting the water to come right up here but it didn't, so that was good, but the only issue is, we don't have power in the house," Mrs Jacobs said.

But still, the couple said, they usually greet their guests by saying "Welcome to Paradise" - a phrase Mrs Jacobs said was not really appropriate today.

The couple said they would be starting their clean-up when the soil and sand had dried out.

Anaura Bay Camp ground

Anaura Bay after the storm hit Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Anaura Bay today

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson