East Auckland residents describe chaotic scenes as tornado hits

East Auckland residents have been repairing roofs and fences after a tornado struck at around 9pm on Sunday night.

Most of the damage runs from the Pakuranga Golf Club southeast to Barry Curtis Park in Flat Bush.

About 50 homes have been damaged, and 10 have been yellow stickered.

RNZ reports another 50 properties were damaged after a tornado tore through the Tasman district near Nelson on Monday afternoon.

And another tornado has since hit the Kāpiti Coast this morning, damaging several properties. A teenager is being assessed in hospital after the building he was sleeping in was destroyed.

Ramil Casas said he was only narrowly missed by the tree branches which smashed through his window just before 9pm on Sunday.

Casa said he was working in the living room when the wind started howling.

He went near the window to check what was going on, and that was when the branches cut through the glass.

He said he felt lucky he and his wife, Nema Rose, were now safe.

"It's like surreal, we can't believe that we survived the tornado."

Cases said their roof was also damaged, and tiles from a neighbour's roof had smashed into his flatmates' car.

Pei De Hou lives on Erne Crescent in East Tamaki, where many homes were badly damaged.

The 75 year old was lying on his bed talking to his friend over the phone, when he heard the sound of the wind and what sounded to him like hail.

Initially he thought it was an earthquake. Then he heard a loud bang and decided to check out what was going on.

De Hou was shocked to find the damage to the front of his house after branches punctured the window.

"The rain was hard-hitting, the rain was like - how it was described [in Chinese literature] - the wind is howling angrily like it could move mountains, the rain was torrential as if it could breach dams and flood rivers.

"I came out of the room and saw that entire top part of the glass window has been broken, and there was glass all over the floor, it was impossible to walk there."

A window in the living room and another window on the second floor were also damaged.

His home is white stickered and he said he was happy with the speed of repairs which insurance had arranged for.

Priyank Rao's home, also on Erne Crescent, was directly in the line of destruction. He and his family were playing games in their lounge when the twister hit - badly damaging their roof.

"Before we could even get up we got a big smash on the window in the dining [room]. We were lucky we weren't in the dining area because the glass just smashed so badly it sprayed across everywhere.

"The curtains came off completely so you can imagine the force in which it came."

A couple of blocks to the north on Attymon Lane, contractors have been fixing tarpaulins to Raj Verma's badly-damaged roof.

"The roof has probably 60 or 70 percent of the tiles have lifted up and gone through to the cavity. The garage door caved in, there's holes where the tiles have fallen in to the roof cavity and then the fence is the other piece.

"We had a palm tree go down, we had another tree here that went down and one from the neighbour's yard that flew across."

Suzanne Post was at home on Ballbay Rd with her elderly parents when the tornado hit.

"It was terrifying. The noise is obviously what came first, I can't even explain it. It was just this swirling sort of wind but silent as well. Then you just heard everything just whoosh onto the ground.

"There was a lady in the house behind us, she's just arrived in New Zealand, and she was screaming. She was actually screaming, she was so scared. Because a lot of her windows blew out."

Manpreet Brar has spent the past couple of days helping neighbours dig out in one of the worst-affected neighbourhoods.

Brar told Morning Report his two dogs were "out-of-control barking" and would not settle down.

He brought them inside and soon after, heard a "big bang with a gush of wind".

He thought it may have been a car crash and when the wind fell silent, he looked outside to see the chaos the tornado had created on Chapel Road.

Brar said he saw a number of trees had fallen down and some were leaning against homes.

After, he and his neighbours noticed how badly damaged some rooves were.

Brar said his own property lots some roof tiles but it was "nothing compared to me neighbours".

He said the neighbourhood had spent the last couple of days getting temporary fixes to their properties sorted but it would take another few days to get everything cleared up.

NIWA scientist Chris Brandolino told Morning Report low pressure over the Tasman was creating the ideal conditions for thunderstorms and heavy showers.

"Air flow spins clockwise around low pressure so that means we're getting a lot of warm humid air.

"So the atmosphere is primed for what we all convection, and that's basically heat-driven thunderstorms, heavy showers."

There could be more showers and thunderstorms over Northland and Auckland, Coromandel, and perhaps Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Taranaki, Manawatū, and towards Wellington.

"There's so much wind energy in the atmosphere, thunderstorms can tend to focus that wind in a small area and create damage, heavy rain and hail."

On average New Zealand had seven to 10 moderate tornadoes a year, he said.



East Tamaki residents Ramil Casas and his wife Nema Rose saw significant damage to their rental property. Photo: RNZ / Lucy Xia