A torrential mudslide has slammed into the side of a Wellington waterfront apartment block, forcing a mass evacuation.
Wellington City Council inspectors ordered the evacuation of two Oriental Parade buildings amid fear they could be structurally damaged by the slip.
The bank behind the buildings collapsed about 9.30pm, burying the back of a four-story apartment block, Wellington Central senior fire officer James Gray said.
"The original call was from McFarlane St above, where they heard the crash as the hill just gave way."
A storm water drain also broke in the slip sending a waterfall down the bank that was still flowing nearly two hours later.
The flow also appeared to have diverted into the building next door, filling a downstairs room within minutes.
"When we arrived the water was up to ceiling height."
Firefighters had to bash a hole in the door to release the water, which flowed on through the garage into the street.
About five units have been evacuated with most residents shuffling through the rain to a nearby hotel.
- The Dominion Post