Violent landslide wrecks Waikato hill

Homeowners have described their shock after a huge landslide in Waikato.

The violent downpour of rain on Sunday moved an entire hillside, leaving Hayley and Rob Schwass watching on in horror.

"I just couldn't believe what I was seeing," says Ms Schwass. "I was fixated."

It's lucky their house wasn't on the other hillside.

Following the worst rain they've seen in the 12 years they've lived there, a crack started to form on the neighbouring land and the earth began to move in front of their eyes.

"The crack just seemed to be dropping and dropping and I yelled for my husband to come," says Ms Schwass.

"In slow motion it just came rushing down the hill, took out the pine trees at the bottom.  My eyes were popping out."

The area saw between 180mm and 220mm of rainfall over the past week, that's double the monthly average for March.  In just one hour on Sunday, 24mm fell, causing the hillside to collapse.

They say their beautiful view is now an eyesore.

"Quite gutted, losing sleep, just more worried about the land now," says Ms Schwass.

The landslip has caused a dam in the natural waterway at the bottom of their property, hampering drainage.

But she's grateful the neighbour's cows had a lucky escape.

"At the time when I looked out there was no cows thank goodness.  After the land fell I could hear them calling out, and they all started appearing on the ridge.  They didn't look worried."