Kohimarama landslide: Cliff declared safe, residents can return once mud-stricken apartments declared habitable


Residents of an Auckland apartment block struck by a landslide this week have been told the cliff behind their homes poses “no imminent risk”.

San Remo Apartments resident Craig Jones received the good news from Auckland Council this afternoon.

He and the occupants of other affected apartments in the suburb of Kohimarama were told they could move back in once their apartments were deemed habitable.

Waist-deep mud poured through several of the building’s 11 apartments when torrential rain pummelled Auckland on Tuesday evening.

Residents of six front apartments were not affected and had already returned home, but those living in five rear apartments have been in limbo.

Jones, 45, was home today removing personal property and said several truckloads of mud had also been dug out of the apartments.

There had been fears residents may have to wait years to return, amid concerns work might need to be done to the cliff, Jones said.

“At least now we won’t be held up, so that’s good news.”

His apartment had been “gutted” and the inside would need to be cleaned, but he hope to move back in this year.

Despite the disruption, he was philosophical.

“We are all alive, so that’s the main thing. You’ve just got to roll your sleeves up and get on with it.”

And three days after the torrent of mud smashed into his home, knocking him from his feet, Jones remained in awe of the emergency services who came to residents’ aid.

“We just want to say thank you for their commitment and professionalism on the night.”

Mudslide traps West Auckland residents after deluge hits region


West Auckland homes have been evacuated after a landslide caused fears for residents’ safety.

Three homes in Titirangi’s Grendon Rd were cleared by police on Wednesday morning after a river of mud and trees washed down a hillside.

One elderly resident objected to evacuating his “at-risk” property but had been convinced to leave, police said.

Meanwhile, residents of Landing Rd, further down the hill, were trapped in their homes by the mud.

Tony Matthews said he was woken up at 2am by his neighbour banging on his door.

“He heard a huge crash and half a hillside has come down across the driveway.”

The shared private driveway, in Landing Rd, was blocked and five houses were cut off.

Matthews said the mud slide was about ten metres high.

“It’s mostly just mud with some trees. We’re not sure how long we’ll be stuck here, no one can leave until we’ve cleared it.”

Matthews said there was no damage to houses, and “thankfully” no one was hurt.

His neighbour Felicity Farrell said they were concerned with the rain forecast for later on Wednesday afternoon.

“We can clear the mud and trees but there’s still a lot of water running down the hill,” Farrell said.

Meanwhile, west Auckland resident Richard Miller had a late-night escape to a hotel after the deluge flooded his Waima home.

“The water came in after the rain had stopped at 10pm on Tuesday. It all comes running down off the hills so we packed up the kids and took them somewhere dry,” he said.

It’s the second time his home has been flooded in three weeks.

“I’m a bit concerned what will happen today with more rain coming later.”

Properties around Auckland have been impacted by flooding with more rain forecast for Wednesday afternoon.

In the east Auckland suburb of Kohimarama a wall of mud slammed into a block of flats on Tuesday night.

Emergency services were unclear at first if all residents were accounted for, but said later that everyone was safe and well.

Police remained on the scene overnight.

Meanwhile, three properties on Auckland’s North Shore were in danger of their backyards slipping into the sea on Wednesday morning.

Firefighters were looking into whether residents would need to be evacuated.

 – Stuff

Torbay resident recounts thunderous landslide that swallowed backyard


Landslides, caused by torrential rain, have swallowed part of the backyards of three clifftop properties on Auckland’s North Shore.

Large mounds of clay, bedrock and pohutukawa trees were visible in the muddy waters of the Torbay coast, after breaking off the cliff about 5am on Wednesday.

Sharon Rd resident Andy Fear said the landslides were so loud, he thought he was hearing a thunderstorm and couldn’t get back to sleep – so he decided to make a start on the day and go into work early.

“A little after 6 o’clock I had a phone call from my wife, she told me that there was no rear garden any more, unfortunately,” Fear said.

“I rushed home from work… and discovered that at least a section of three metres to 25m wide had actually fallen into the ocean, along with the fence and everything else.

Fear's back yard was left fragmented and cracked after a landslide swallowed most of it.


Fear’s back yard was left fragmented and cracked after a landslide swallowed most of it.

“It was very scary, and a far bigger thing than I envisioned when I got the phone call. The damage come closer to the property than I thought it would.”

The slip left his backyard fragmented, with “big cracks” he was told would eventually break off with future heavy rain and fall into the ocean also.

The Fire Service, police, council and geotechnical engineers visited his and his neighbours’ properties throughout the morning, to asses the damage and risk of further landslides.

"Truckloads" of cliff have fallen onto the beach below, firefighters say.


“Truckloads” of cliff have fallen onto the beach below, firefighters say.

“Their conclusion is that I am safe at this moment in time, and if it worsens, to get back in touch with them.”

Auckland Council’s Building Control Manager Weathertightness and Compliance Sally Grey said their structural engineers were satisfied the properties on Sharon Rd could remain occupied, but the situation would continue to be monitored until the rain clears.

She said the stretch of beach below the slips, between Browns Bay and Waiake Bay, would remain closed for safety reasons.

The view before the landslide - note the pohutukawa trees.


The view before the landslide – note the pohutukawa trees.

Fear’s back yard was also out-of-bounds, being cordoned off with police tape – cutting off access to his six free-range chickens in their coop, “Cluckingham Palace”.

“They’re probably feeling quite alone at the moment, [we have] not been allowed to go down there to see them.

“They are fed and watered at the moment, but we will have to make plans soon, I’m sure to go and evacuate them to better accommodation.”

The view after the landslide.


The view after the landslide.

The slip may have shaved several metres of the back of his property, but Fear said there was a silver lining, of sorts.

“We are now free of pohutukawa trees that were obviously a feature before – but now we have a great view.”

 – Stuff