Tasman residents alarmed with damage caused by tropical storm

Residents in coastal areas spent Friday cleaning up, after wild weather caused widespread damage in the Tasman region.

As climate change makes events like ex-Tropical Cyclone Fehi more common, the Insurance Council is warning insurers may stop offering flood cover on some coastal properties.

Beachfront properties were battered and shattered in Nelson by the powerful storm. 

Roger Olds was one of many residents counting the cost.

"When it came to full tide, it would have been around about my chest level, so it was quite alarming really."

Waves leapt over his seawall and smashed straight into his Ruby Bay home, leaving debris strewn across the front yard and water flooding into his home. 

"I started lifting things out, but then it just became a torrent.. and it was like a river out the front. I just don't know what to say."

Mr Olds and his wife have lived in Ruby Bay for eight years and they've never seen the surf rise so quickly.

He says the storm has left them in limbo.

"I'm really just waiting for the accessor to arrive and tell us, one way or the other, what we're going to do.

Nelson's Boatshed Cafe was one of the worst hit by storm surges on Thursday. 

Waves punched out floorboards, but the owners today told Newshub it's not structural and they will reopen. 

The piles of debris tossed up onto lawns and front yards will be removed by the Tasman District Council, which initially told Ruby Bay resident Graeme Stradling that residents would have to do it themselves.

Mapua resident Graeme Stradling says some are suffering trauma, because they've just had their whole lives whipped from the face of the earth by these huge waves.

Leigh Webster says she cried when she saw the damage to her Ruby Bay rental and her belongings.

"My mind has just got images of the flood all the time and I've been a bit...it's hitting home now, when you see all your gear and everything that's gone."

Her landlord plans to repair the extensively damaged property, but Webster says the threat of flooding is now impossible to ignore.

"It's one of the best places in the world I've ever lived... I just adore it, but I'm not so sure I'd want to go through this again."

The Insurance Council says it's a question more coastal residents will need to ask themselves, as climate change makes these events more common in low-lying areas. 

"If it gets really bad, then insurers will have to really consider if they're willing to provide flood risk cover for those types of properties," New Zealand Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton says. 

The Kiwi dream of living on the beach - perhaps now washing away.