Heartbreaking story of Titirangi woman's ongoing insurance battle after home wrecked in Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle 

Hundreds of Aucklanders remain displaced after two devastating weather events smashed Tāmaki Makaurau in early 2023, with some waiting for buyouts and others battling private insurers.   

Titirangi homeowner Olivia Anstis is one of those still stuck in limbo.   

Before the storm hit, her partner passed away and he was lying in state at home with friends visiting when rain began coming into the house.  

"I had everyone here with my partner and water pouring through the roof, which wasn't ideal. And then in the following days Titirangi was cut off, so I had no water and was completely isolated," Anstis told Newshub.

Then came Gabrielle, the sheer force sending a giant gum tree crashing onto Anstis' home.  

"I could hear trees all around the valley here cracking and falling, so I had my two dogs and my cat with me and so we all just sort of hung out in the back bedroom," she recounted.  

She then heard a thump as a tree fell onto the house.   

It left a massive hole in the roof, meaning the home was soaked by rain over the course of the next several months.  

Water seeped through the floor into the kitchen below and the kitchenware is now caked in black mould.   

Her furniture and floor had already been damaged in the January floods.  

"Now the carpet is rotten and underneath you can see there's black mould right through," she told Newshub.  

The stress of multiple moves was compounded by several attempts, and cancellations, to remove the tree, which was finally hoisted off the home in July.  

Now Anstis is wrangling with private insurers and there's a gulf between their offer and what builders have quoted.  

"The figure they quoted to me was about $200,000 less than what I had two independent builders review."  

She wants agencies and companies running the recovery to understand "you can't think clearly, you can't make quick decisions, you can't remember when the last person came to your house to write another report".  

"There was no one taking ownership and saying, 'here, I'll help you, I'll help drive this for you,'" she said.

But she's thankful for those around her and for now she's living with her sister-in-law's family nearby.  

"That's made a huge difference. Just the amount of support I've got from them and being able to be around a family, and their kids, that's just brought me so much joy," she said.

The storms come and go quickly, but the return to normal is long and arduous for many.