Close call for Axel
With wild weather raging, many Northlanders have had to rely on the kindness of strangers to get them through.
For Kerikeri mother Kayla Crossley-Coe, 19, the stakes were higher than for most.
Her twin 3-½-year-old sons, Kyan and Axel, woke up at 7.30am yesterday as usual.
But, uncharacteristically, two hours later Axel was asleep again.
Crossley-Coe described his symptoms over the phone to Healthline, who advised her to call an ambulance.
When paramedics arrived they could barely wake up Axel.
"He was really floppy, just not right," Crossley-Coe said.
With extensive flooding in the area, instead of heading to the hospital he was taken to a doctor in Kerikeri.
A glucose test gave a dangerously low reading and Axel was immediately medicated.
A doctor gave Crossley-Coe some sobering news.
"Half an hour to an hour longer and he would have been in a diabetic coma," she said.
That was not the end of the danger - the mother of two was told Axel needed hospital treatment.
A rescue helicopter was contacted to take him to Whangarei Hospital but it was out of action because of the wind.
Despite the huge strain on emergency services, two ambulances arrived for the 85-kilometre journey - one to take the family and one to ensure the road ahead was passable.
After 20 minutes, during which Axel was given oxygen for a suspected collapsed lung, they came to Moerewa Hill, which was completely underwater and looked impassable.
However, after enlisting the help of a tanker, the ambulances drove through the deep water in its slipstream, while a four-wheel-drive was on hand in case they got stuck.
Crossley-Coe was briefly able to thank those strangers who helped.
"I just said 'thank you. You guys have pretty much saved my kid's life. Yeah, you were there, but you were willing to help someone else'," she said.
"Not everyone would be willing to do that."
At the hospital she was told of how important it was they had got through Moerewa.
"If we couldn't have got to Whangarei, Axel could have died or had severe brain damage so it was really touch and go," Crossley-Coe said.
After seven hours in hospital, Axel was discharged but the road home was closed, meaning the family had to stay with Crossley-Coe's mother near Whangarei.
With the rain still falling, she said it might be days before they got back to Kerikeri. She was just grateful to all those who had contributed to saving her son.
"They're amazing people up here."