Sinkholes put a street on notice

Thursday 9 September 2004

An 87-year-old Taumarunui woman has been evacuated from her home and other residents are on standby following the discovery of several unstable tomos (chute-like sinkholes) that could stretch hundreds of metres under the town.

By The Landlord

The holes were discovered during a series of landslips that claimed a 25x30m section of land at the back of Heather Jensen's property.

In the past month at least three major slips - caused by groundwater seeping through the pumicey earth and weakening the surrounding land - have sent large portions of Mrs Jensen's backyard tumbling into the Ongarue River, 30m below her home.

The remaining land has now become so unstable that Mrs Jensen has been evacuated amid concerns that her entire house could crash down the cliff.

Ruapehu District Council spokesman Paul Wheatcroft said initial reports showed that the erosion had been naturally occurring underground for about 20 years.

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