Roofs ripped off, streets 'trashed'

03:13, Jun 21 2013
Central Wellington
An overturned parking ticket machine shelter on Victoria St in central Wellington.
Central Wellington
Torrential rain affects Wellington commuters as they head home.
Pharazyn St, Lower Hutt
Firefighters tend to a tree down in Pharazyn St, Lower Hutt.
Victoria St
Trees broken by the storm on Victoria St in central Wellington.
Victoria St 2
Damage to a parking ticket machine shelter on Victoria St.
Boulcott St
A tree which blew over at the back of a student accommodation building on Boulcott St, narrowly missing a car.
Boulcott St 2
A tree which blew over at the back of a student accommodation building on Boulcott St, narrowly missing a car.
Damage to Countdown in Johnsonville.
 Middleton Rd, Churton Park
A ute lies smashed by a falling tree.
A tree lies fallen across Fox St at the intersection with Awarua Rd, Ngaio.
A tree lies fallen across Fox St at the intersection with Awarua Rd, Ngaio.
Wellington storm
The storm-ravaged Esplanade on Wellington's south coast.
Wellington storm
South coast resident Karen Brodie with a fish she found washed up on the Esplanade.
Wellington esplanade
Damage to Wellington south coast's Esplanade.
Wellington esplanade
Storm damage to the Esplanade on Wellington's south coast.
Wellington storm
A Z Mana service station employee with his store's blown-in window this morning.
Wellington storm
Waves crash at the coast at Plimmerton.
Raumati South Memorial Hall
Debris from a ripped-off roof litters the grounds of the Raumati South Memorial Hall.
Raumati South Memorial Hall
A parking booth toppled over at Wellington Stadium.
Raumati South Memorial Hall
Both of Hannah Moore's family's trampolines took a tumble during the storm.
Raumati South Memorial Hall
A shredded sail of a yacht at Mana Marina.
Wellington storm
A toppled tree disturbs a grave at Karori Cemetery.
Wellington storm
A large fallen tree blocks a residential street in Whitby.
Wellington storm
Jeffrey Haina took these photos of a powerline "arcing" out his window in Wellington.
Wellington storm
A falling tree took out a power pole and lines, blocking Warwick St in the Wellington suburb of Wilton.
Wellington storm
Noel Henderson and his dog at the Esplanade on Wellington's south coast.
Wellington storm
Storm damage by the coast at Island Bay.
Wellington storm
Glen Scanlon sent in this photo of his backyard in Hataitai.
Wellington storm
Trees down in Whitby.
Wellington storm
Damage to the Warehouse in Lyall Bay.
Wellington storm
David Morgan sent in this photo of damaged train tracks on the Hutt Valley line.
Wellington storm
A damaged sign in central Wellington.
Wellington storm
A greenhouse in Brooklyn that didn't survive the night.
Wellington storm
A crushed Breaker Bay boatshed.
Wellington storm
A fallen tree on Ellice Street, which thankfully fell between two cars.
Wellington storm
Damage to train tracks near Horokiwi.
Wellington storm
Council workers deal with a fallen tree on Rangiora Ave.
Wellington storm
Inspectors check train tracks near Horokiwi.
Wellington storm
Nicholas Down, who lost his roof in Stokes Valley.
Wellington storm
Storm damage at the Wellington Indoor Sports Centre in Newtown.
Wellington storm
Storm damage in Island Bay.
Wellington storm
The damaged carpark at Ekim Burgers in Lyall Bay.
Wellington storm
A fallen tree in Aro Park.
Wellington storm
Storm damage on Myrtle Crescent.
Wellington storm
Storm debris on Owhiro Bay.
Wellington storm
Storm debris on Owhiro Bay.
Wellington storm
An unlucky car on Mount Victoria.
Wellington storm
The cleanup begins on Breaker Bay.
Wellington storm
A separated door on Breaker Bay.
Wellington storm
Storm damage in Belmont.
Wellington storm
Callum Norrie of Breaker Bay inspects the debris.
Wellington storm
Debris on Owhiro Bay.
Wellington storm
A fish that made it all the way across the road on Owhiro Bay.
Wellington storm
Damage to a bus in Southgate.
Wellington storm
Storm damage in Southgate.
Wellington storm
Severe damage in Lower Hutt.
Wellington storm
A huge Eucalyptus tree in Khandallah Park.
Wellington storm
Debris on Days Bay.
Wellington storm
Damage at Jim and Philippa Reid's Seatoun house.
Wellington storm
A tug boats attempts to tow the Interislander.
Wellington storm
Debris on Petone Beach near the Settlers Museum. Waves went over the wall between the beach and the street.
Wellington storm
A yacht that couldn't stand the wind.
Wellington storm
Sea water made it into Reece Kohatu's Lyall Bay property.
Wellington storm
Storm damage in Korokoro.
Wellington storm
Storm damage in Petone.
Wellington storm
Storm debris in Petone.
Wellington storm
Trees ripped out of the ground in Petone.
Wellington storm
Reece Kohatu looks at the damage done by the waves at his Queens Drive Lyall Bay property.
Wellington storm
A fell tree on Maungaraki Road.
Wellington storm
Lowry Bay, overtaken with waves.
Wellington storm
Seawater hits Eastbourne's Lowry Bay as high tide approaches.
A boat from Porirua Harbour strikes boat sheds.
Days Bay bach
A seaside Days Bay bach gets pummeled by the sea.
Two massive trees block road access down from Korokoro.
Interisland ferry
The Interislander ferry at anchor in Wellington harbour after its moorings broke in the night.
Roofs and trees litter the streets of Kelson, Lower Hutt.
Wellington storm
Residents putting a tarpaulin over a storm-damaged home at Queens Drive, Lyall Bay.
Wellington storm
Contractors start to remove a large tree from an Owhiro Rd home.
Wellington storm
A man picks his way through debris washed up along Port Rd in Seaview.


Four seaside houses in Days Bay - including a bach formerly owned by author Katherine Mansfield - appear to be write-offs after being smashed to pieces by the overnight high tide.

The front of the houses, at the northern tip of the bay, were demolished and are now again at the mercy of the tide, expected to peak at 3.27pm.

John Ross, an owner of one of the homes, said he and his family had had a lucky escape, evacuating at 1am, an hour before the high tide struck early this morning.

"I'd bought another house in the hills of Days Bay and was slowly shifting stuff over before the family moved.

"But I did not like the look and sound of the storm this morning, so we got out at around 1."

Mr Ross, who was sharing the house with his 82 year-old mother, partner and two-year-old son, said the waves had shattered the front window, which he estimated to be about 10mm thick.

"Imagine we'd been inside when that struck. There's just no fighting the force of the sea. It could have been very different and tragic, had we not got out."

Mr Ross said he expected four of the five seaside houses to be write-offs. "The sea wall is broken, the houses shattered, some walls are no longer there ... And now the sea is doing further damage."

Mr Ross returned to the house about 5am, but initially could not get through his gate because of the drift wood and debris littering his roadside garden.

"The new owners are not going to like this," he said. "But what can you do against this force of nature?"

He said all the residents had escaped safely.

The one house to escape relatively lightly is set slightly further back from the sea.


Kelburn resident Mark Donnell heard a roof tile shatter on his Raroa Rd home about 7.30pm, but soon realised they had a bigger issue on their hands.

"I heard a tile come off the roof and shatter. I walked around and thought that's not the problem, when I saw the trampoline." 

Mr Donnell said a trampoline was hanging off the power line, suspended, last night and it had since dropped to the ground, though was still tangled in the line.


He was waiting for Wellington Electricity to turn off the power so they could pull the trampoline out.


A Waiwhetu woman slept on as two large pine trees crashed into her house, one landing on her bedroom roof.

The elderly woman's daughter, Annemarie Jenness, said neighbours in the Hutt Valley, Wellington suburb tried to wake her mother up after the first 10-metre pine crashed into the roof of her bedroom about 9pm yesterday.

When they couldn't raise her by knocking on the door, they called police.

When police arrived another ''huge'' pine tree crashed down on the house.

''I don't know how she slept through it, I really don't. It would have made a hell of a crash.''

Police finally got in to the house and woke the woman, who was taken to a rear neighbour's house because the driveway was blocked.

She was still stuck at the neighbour's house this afternoon and was in shock, Mrs Jenness said.


The sea wall protecting Reece Kohatu's Lyall Bay home has collapsed leaving the bottom storey flooded while the family awaits the rising tide above.

The backyard at the Queens Dr property has been reduced to a mess of concrete and seaweed, the balcony and stairs washed away.

"It's surreal - you think you've got a wall and then just like that, nature just takes it away."

Mr Kohatu's partner Toni Roberts and their daughter did not sleep last night, and as the waves rose, the back door downstairs gave out about 11:30pm.

"[The ocean] just opened the door by itself - even though it was deadlocked."

A section of the seawall collapsed completely about 2am, flooding the back yard and by the morning, the water downstairs was 50cm deep.

Ms Roberts said the bottom storey of the house had been reduced to a "soup".

"I was pretty worried when the sea wall went - we've had our bags packed ready to go."

However, the family's battle is not over with the high tide looming again this afternoon.

Mr Kohatu had called the fire service and boarded up the windows and doors downstairs.

"They will have a look at the wall but I'm not sure what else they can do."

Next door, Pippa Lee's backyard was also flooded, with the water creating a 2m hole under the sea wall.

The hole was being filled with stones but with the high tide turning this afternoon, it was unlikely to keep the waves out, she said.

"We've just been slammed ... we just don't want to lose the wall."


The roof of a Stokes Valley family's new home came off "like film off margarine" in last night's storm.

Last night, as the storm hit, Nicholas Down was in his van outside his family's new Stokes Valley home, about to follow his wife Jodyann and their two sons to get dinner, when he heard a huge "ker-chunka" noise from the house.

He then saw the roof come off, "like lifting film off margarine".

"It's open-plan living," Mr Down said.

The couple had bought the house in March, but were living at a friend's place as they worked to renovate it.

They had spent $40,000 on the house so far, and had just completed installing a new roof.

"My family's not hurt and nobody was harmed," Mr Down said.

"The poor buggers in the south are much worse than us."

Mr Down's son Lachlon, 13, said he was just glad the family weren't living at the house at the time, so most of their belongings were not inside.

The interior of the house was wrecked, but Mr Down believed the damage would be covered by insurance.


Wellington south coast resident Karen Brodie said The Esplanade has been "trashed".

"It's like a bomb's gone off. I've never seen anything like it," she said.

"The road has been completely ripped up."

Debris, including logs, seaweed, sand and a ripped up bench seat were on the road, she said.

She even found a dead fish washed on the road this morning.

The wind last night was "hideous", Ms Brodie said.

"It even moved my car over on an angle."

Wellington's south coast has been battered by the storm, with two metre slabs of asphalt ripped from the ground. 

Parts of The Esplanade in Island Bay are submerged and strewn with debris and a 3.5-metre tree. 

On Owhiro Bay Rd, Daniel Smith is fighting to keep his roof, the corner of which is flapping in the gale. 

"I heard the banging but I thought it was the garage door. When I was taking the kids out I stuck my head out the door and saw it flapping around." 

Mr Smith climbed on to a neighbouring roof and managed to secure his own with a rope tied to a  nearby tree. 

"I called the fire brigade but we are fifth on the list in Owhiro Bay." 

Around the corner, The Bach cafe is open for business, despite the road being near impassable. 

The ground outside is ripped up and flooded and strewn with rocks. 

But customers are slowly trickling in and some are helping clean-up the cafe's balcony. 

Co-owner Maraea Kiel said she had never seen anything like it. 

"It looks like quake destruction but it's not. How wild and furious that sea must have been."

Ms Kiel said she had received "calls galore" from customers checking on the cafe and wanting a coffee. 

Customer Robbie Swaneveld has lived in Island Bay for 50 years and said he has never seen a storm like this. 

"I was six when the Wahine [storm] came through and even that was not like this."  

Local Steve Potter said he was working to clear debris from The Esplanade.

''I've lived here 25 years and it's the worst I've ever seen it.''


A 20-metre tall macrocarpa tree split and fell around Waglands Kennel in Normandale, narrowly missing the building but crushing two cars.

Waglands owners Ben and Arlene Adams, who live on the kennel premises with their 6-month-old twin boys, say they initially thought it was an earthquake when a huge gust of wind shook the building. They then heard the crash of the 90-year-old tree falling outside.

The tree missed one corner of the house by about five metres, but crushed two cars parked outside the other corner.

"We don't know what the plan is to deal with it, but our neighbour is a tree surgeon, and he's likely to be busy for quite a while," Mr Adams said.

The pair said they felt lucky the damage wasn't more extensive, and they would at least have enough firewood for the several years to come.

Power had been out to the area since 7pm last night.

Waglands' human and canine occupants were all safe and well.


A yacht parked at the Seaview Marina was blown over and another yacht broke away from its moorings at the Evans Bay Marina.

Seaview Marina administrator Suzanne Willis said a lot of sails and canopies were torn and one boat on a swing mooring had lost a line but it was too rough to get out and secure it.

The biggest storm since the marina was built saw waves nearly crashing over the breakwater that shelters the boats. 
She said most of the people who lived on boats in the marina went ashore for the night. The few who stayed on board their boats would have had a rough night.

Evans Bay Marina supervisor Andy McCallum said a boat which came off its swing mooring ended up on rocks near Greta Point. The police launch went to its rescue but he was uncertain whether they were able to save it.

A lot of boats had torn sails and canopies and some boats parked on trailers had been moved about by the fierce winds.

Piers on Chaffers Marina were damaged and several boats broke their moorings in the fierce winds.

Marina manager Ken Burt said two eight-metre long steel bridges linking the marina walkway to piers C and D broke away, making access to boats on both piers very difficult.

Power was also cut to both piers. He said people living on boats at the marina saved several boats which broke their moorings, by going out and tying them up again.

A headsale on one boat was shredded by the wind after it unfurled and many boat covers were torn and billowing in the wind.


Julian Hodge, from the Island Bay Marine Education Centre, said the surf club building used by the centre suffered significant damage.

A roller door was ripped off like a ''piece of aluminium foil'' and debris was 1.5m deep in downstairs section.

Equipment housed in the Island Bay beach building had been washed out.The nearby aquarium was badly damaged but animals were fine, he said.

Both surf clubs in Lyall Bay - Maranui and Lyall Bay - suffered only minor damage.

Worser Bay Life Saving Club chairman Grant Rae said beach-level gear sheds had doors smashed in by waves and logs.

''Some of the doors were rammed [seven to eight metres] to the back of the gear shed.''

Doors were in the same spot during the 1968 storm which sunk the Wahine ferry near the harbour heads. The doors withstood the weather in 1968.

Paddle boards and skis had been washed out of the shed, some flipped by the wind to neighbouring properties.

''We understand there has been some total loss of equipment, with some items damaged beyond repair.''

The club was insured and should be operating by summer.

The Dominion Post