Residents of cyclone-ravaged Karekare left in the dark, desperate for certainty

Residents in the small west Auckland coastal settlement of Karekare say they feel forgotten since Cyclone Gabrielle and are desperate for some certainty.

Karekare continues to live with cyclone-ravaged roads and one resident says there's no clear pathway to recovery.

Resident Mandy Patmore's home sits between the settlement's two main roads. She told AM both roads are "utterly undrivable".

"There's I think something like 16 bite marks out the side of the road, significant slips on the road."

She said the roads destroyed by Cyclone Gabrielle are "almost impossible" to navigate for much of the community without having to walk 16km.

"It's incredibly unsafe."

The roads are officially closed, and while Patmore says she's an experienced hiker and is able to trek to her home, some locals have taken matters into their own hands.

"[Their] being incredibly brave and driving on parts of it, but it's just a matter of time I think before the roads give out entirely."

Patmore said the nature of living in Karekare "feels a bit like The Walking Dead" with many deciding to leave.

"Most people are deciding to stay and really tough it out or have left already, so the community is getting smaller and smaller by the day."

And now residents are feeling "tired, overwhelmed" and "really, really uncertain" of what the future holds.

"I mean we really have heard nothing about the future of our community and it feels a bit like the walking dead actually."

Patmore told AM the locals that remain have been left with no other option but to make it work because there's no alternative.

"People have got animals to care for and don't have anywhere to go city side either."

Although the Karekare community feels like they've been left in the dark, Patmore says residents have rallied together to get critical work done.

"We've got local guys that have working 18 hours a day that have got diggers and chainsaws. I'd still be stuck in my house now, I had slips on either side of my house and I didn't get out until the Friday after the main event," Patmore told AM.

"I would still be there if the local guys hadn't come and dugs us out."

Patmore says Auckland Council have been doing a "good job" of checking in on locals, but the community has no idea what will happen to its primary road network.

"I understand there's a lot of pressure on local systems but we really just need some answers."

She said a timeline or something for the community to work towards would help.

"Just some answers would be great, even if it's not the ones we want."

Otherwise, Patmore and her community will continue to sit "in limbo wondering whether to try and relocate".

"My studio is out there, my livelihood is out there, my animals are there, it's just really hard to know how to move forward in such an uncertain time."

She said helicopters have been dropping off donated food but it's not sustainable. Patmore has to walk 16km one way to get to the closest supermarket.

"We're also relying on the kindness of others and donations so there's not a lot of fresh food or some of the more essential items."

Watch the full interview above.

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