Houses have been left submerged and uninhabitable after torrential rain brought flash flooding to Plimmerton, north of Wellington.
MetService said some areas in the Wellington region were hit by between 20 and 30 millimetres of rain in an hour on Sunday morning as the wild weather tore through.
Plimmerton fire chief Carl Mills told RNZ the flooding was worsened by a high tide happening at the same time and there was nothing fire crews could do.
"With the extra rain that came it really got too high, and went into where people's main living spaces are.
"In one place if you're in the driveway I think the water was a couple of metres deep, and probably another half-a-metre deep in the homes in some cases."
New images show knee-deep water in people's backyards, with levels rising high enough to cover car wheels, float away rubbish bins and flood homes and garages.
Around 15 homes have been left uninhabitable and the Plimmerton Fire Station is being used as a welfare centre for residents forced from their houses.
The flooding also hit roads, closing the Plimmerton roundabout on State Highway 1 earlier on Sunday.
And with heavy rain and strong winds forecast to hammer the upper South Island and lower North Island again on Monday, there are fears residents face more damage.