Gisborne and the East Coast have been hit hard overnight by the remnants of ex-tropical Cyclone Fili.
Gisborne and the Wairoa District were covered by a red heavy rain warning until 1am and 4am this morning respectively.
State Highway 35 between Gisborne and Pōtaka is closed due to flooding and downed trees.
Many homes are still without power.
In Gisborne, sewage is now being pumped into the Turanganui River as the wastewater system is struggling to cope.
The council said it is "highly diluted".
In the wake of Fili, Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz is advising residents to play it safe today.
"We are asking everyone if you don't have to travel, just stay home, stay dry, look after each other and like I've said before: We've done this before, we'll do it again."
Many in Tairāwhiti are still facing repairs just three weeks after severe rainfall caused widespread flooding.
The flooding damaged homes, businesses and roads.
MetService said heavy rain and severe southwest gales in the area should have been easing by dawn.