"We are tired but we are prepared."
Those are the words of Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz as rain pours down in the region.
The remains of ex-tropical Cyclone Fili are currently crossing over Tairāwhiti Gisborne and the East Coast.
Stoltz said the region is concerned about the expected heavy rain and severe gales as it has been in "recovery mode" for the last few weeks.
Many are still facing repairs just three weeks after severe rainfall caused widespread flooding. It damaged homes, businesses and roads.
"We are ready. We are prepared for the worst but hoping for the best," Stoltz said.
The Wairoa District and Gisborne are covered by a red heavy rain warning into late Wednesday and early Thursday.
MetService says residents can expect dangerous river conditions and significant flooding.
It warns communities could become isolated as slips and floodwaters make roads impassable. Power outages are likely.
Severe south to southwest gales are also forecast, which could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures.
"We are tired but we are prepared," she reflected.
Stoltz is advising residents to "stay home, be safe ... stay dry."
Tokomaru Bay locals 'anxious'
Resident Lillian Te Hau-Ward told Breakfast the community is "anxious what the next 24 hours will bring us".
Tokomaru Bay was maybe the worst hit three weeks ago.
Low-lying houses in the area were submerged by floodwaters, with many locals self-evacuating.
Te Hau-Ward said there are still piles of silt everywhere.
"They haven't moved and highly likely they will disperse back onto the whenua again."
She said locals had been preparing for Fili for about a day-and-a-half and were ready to "kick into response mode".
"The heaven's have opened up on us, but we're ready for it."
Te Hau-Ward said some senior and vulnerable residents had already been relocated in preparation.
She was concerned about rivers breaking their banks again and causing flooding.
Mangahauini Bridge, which had been wiped out, was only fixed about two weeks ago.
"Although we were hit heavily three weeks ago, it affected everyone else north from us, which meant food, supplies weren't getting up the coast and whānau were really struggling," Te Hau-Ward said.
"We're looking forward to a day of lots of surface flooding. Hopefully those river banks don't break and the roads become rivers again."
A swathe of weather watches and warnings are also in place for the rest of the North Island.