Homeowner's proactive approach saved house

23:00, Dec 14 2012

Images of Bronwyn Tuck's garage engulfed by a mudslide were broadcast around New Zealand during last December's floods and slips.

Tonnes of mud and debris gushed down from the Centre of New Zealand hillside above her Halifax St East house, in The Wood.

Her garage was destroyed and the mud pushed against the side of her house.

A year on, Ms Tuck is satisfied with how things have worked out, although she has had to work hard to end up where she is.

The Nelson City Council has said it will build a retaining wall on its land next to her house to protect it.

Work on the wall was supposed to start six months ago, but due to contractor Tonkin and Taylor facing a backlog of work, it is now scheduled to start next year.


It's work that cannot start soon enough. Every time it rains, about 30 centimetres of water floods under the house, although the sandbags around the building have mitigated this.

Ms Tuck has been paid by EQC and is going to build a new garage, when the retaining wall is finished.

She has rebuilt the side of the house, fixed the front and back decks and landscaped the back garden, removing the gravel.

She described the process of dealing with EQC as "highly inconsistent". During the year, she joined an EQC Support group, which she said was worthwhile.

Talking with the other members, she learned about different ways of dealing with EQC and getting what she wanted.

Every time she dealt with EQC, she got a different person, she said. The phone call was usually answered in Australia, and she then had to hope to get someone in New Zealand, and then really hope to get someone in Nelson to come and have a look.

She described it as going around in circles, and every now and then she had to revisit the circle.

Building a new house in Atawhai and maintaining a humorous approach to the situation had kept her sane.

She said she stood to be better off than she was before, with a retaining wall protecting her house and a new garage.

Her neighbours above her on the hill - who share a driveway - still do not have the driveway sorted and do not have proper vehicle access to their homes.

However, had Ms Tuck not been proactive or had the funds to do the work needed to protect her house early on, it could have been a different story.

She paid to have 40 truckloads of dirt taken away from the back of her house three days after the flood.

The weight from the debris was pressing on the building, and if she had waited for the EQC payment to pay contractors, the house could have been ruined.

She said she hated to think what things would have been like if she did not have the spare cash or was not proactive.

"In the end, I'm satisfied, but I've had to work hard for it."

The Nelson Mail