Cyclone Pam hits New Zealand video

John Cowpland/Fairfax NZ

Strong winds and high waves have lashed the East Coast region as ex-tropical cyclone Pam hit New Zealand.

Ex-cyclone Pam is bearing down on the Chatham Islands after sweeping across northeastern New Zealand, bringing heavy rain but relatively little destruction.

Gisborne Civil Defence evacuated more than 100 people in the northern part of the Gisborne district on Monday and more were ready to go as a precaution against the rising sea, flooding and slips overnight.

Heavy rain fell across the region and strong offshore winds created nine-metre high waves but only minor damage was reported, Civil Defence said.

REBEKAH PARSONS-KING/Stuff.co.nz

Cyclone Pam stirring big swells to the Coromandel even at mid tide there are concerns for beach front homes, we visited Tairua and Whitianga.

Are you in a storm-affected area? Send your photos, video and newstips to newstips@stuff.co.nz

READ MORE:   * What you need to know    * Catastrophe in Vanuatu   * NZ sends planes, relief supplies to Vanuatu

Freedom campers were given "strong encouragement" to get out of flood-prone areas by Gisborne police.

ROB KITCHIN/Stuff.co.nz

Civil Defence keep an eye on Cyclone Pam from the Beehive's emergency bunker.

Although the weather was not as destructive as expected in most areas, residents of Waihau Bay, 140km northeast of Whaktane, saw the high swells send sea water up State Highway 35 and onto nearby houses, although the road remained open. 

Autahi Callaghan, a resident near Raukokore School on SH35, said on Monday morning it was worse than they thought it was going to be.

"We didn't expect it to be this bad, especially the wind and with [even] low tide being high. We're just worried about high tide now," she said.

DELUGE: Heavy rain covers Gisborne and Hawke's Bay as well as the western Bay of Plenty and the tip of Great Barrier ...
METSERVICE

DELUGE: Heavy rain covers Gisborne and Hawke's Bay as well as the western Bay of Plenty and the tip of Great Barrier Island in this 11.28am rain radar image.

"It's low tide now and the sea's come up to the road."

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It had even "arrived at some people's doors", she said.

Callaghan had seen the sea wash up that far once before, but at high tide. This time rocks and logs were strewn across the road, she said.

Rebekah Parsons-King/Fairfax NZ Kirk Hargreaves/The Press David Hallett/Supplied Jane Jeffries/Supplied Rebekah Parsons-King/Fairfax NZ Rebakah Parsons-King Rebekah Parsons-King/Fairfax NZ Rebekah Parsons-King/Fairfax NZ Clinton Llewellyn/Fairfax NZ Clinton Llewellyn/Fairfax NZ PAULINE HOUIA PAULINE HOUIA SARAH DONNELLY METSERVICE BAY OF PLENTY CIVIL DEFENCE TRENT FEARNLEY MIKE SCOTT SANDRA WALKER

Kids get dangerously close to the roaring ocean.

Surfs Up. New Brighton Pier Christchurch starting to take a hammering from swell generated by Cyclone Pam.

Surfers at Taylor's Mistake Canterbury experience the aftermath of Cyclone Pam.

Surfers enjoy Cyclone Pam's swell at Milford Beach, North Shore.

Swells at high tide at Buffalo Beach, Whitianga, Coromandel - effects of Cyclone Pam. Ray Blackler Managing Director of Road Works Ltd on a digger at work to build the eroding bank being thrashed by the waves

Swells at Tairua from Cyclone Pam

Swells at mid tide in Tairua, Coromandel effects of Cyclone Pam

Swells at high tide at Buffalo Beach, Whitianga, Coromandel - effects of Cyclone Pam. Ray Blackler Managing Director of Road Works Ltd on a digger at work to build the eroding bank being thrashed by the waves

A man with a Go Pro camera tries to get up close to the swell along the Hawke's Bay coast at Haumoana.

Freelance photographer Andrew Brunton snaps away as waves crash in the background along the Hawke's Bay coast at Haumoana

A boulder lies on the road in Omaio, Bay of Plenty.

Heavy seas crash in on Omaio Bay, in the Bay of Plenty.

As the remnants of Cyclone Pam hit Gisborne, a tree is uprooted - narrowly missing a house.

DELUGE: Heavy rain covers Gisborne and Hawke's Bay as well as the western Bay of Plenty and the tip of Great Barrier Island in this 11.28am rain radar image.

Large seas crash into Moturiki Island, Bay of Plenty.

Flotsam on the beach at Te Araroa.

ROUGH SURF: Sweels get big at Mount Maunganui as Cyclone Pam bears down on the East Coast of the North Island.

Large swells roll in at Orewa Beach, north Auckland.

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Several roads across the Gisborne region were closed and the rough weather was expected to continue through the night before clearing on Tuesday.

Gales were expected to gust to 130kmh about parts of Gisborne and Hawke's Bay overnight.

Earlier in the day, Northland and Coromandel avoided much of Pam's wrath and the sun started to shine on Whangarei by late afternoon.

Around 1.30pm on Monday MetService said Pam was about 230km north and east of East Cape.

The attention had shifted to the Chathams, 750km to the east of the South Island, where the weather would deteriorate overnight and be at its worst by midday on Tuesday.

A state of local emergency was declared by Mayor Alfred Preece just after midday on Monday. "The reason for the declaration is the imminent arrival of Cyclone Pam combined with rural fires on the islands," he said.

Preece was in Christchurch on Monday morning and flew home on a charter flight due to the approaching ex-cyclone.

He arrived, with three extra civil defence staff on the plane, about 9am. The brunt of the event was expected between morning and midday on Tuesday, with average winds of between 90kmh and 110kmh, he said.

"It was very calm this morning and [the wind] has slowly picked up all day."

Low-lying areas had been evacuated — mostly private properties, including about half of Kaingaroa village, Preece said.

MetService spokesman John Law said a close watch was being kept on the Chathams.

"The low pretty much runs right down towards them."

Severe gales with gusts up to 160kmh were expected from Monday night through to Wednesday morning, MetService said.

Peak winds were expected on Tuesday morning and early afternoon.

Meanwhile, the cleanup in Vanuatu continues, where winds reached 300kmh over the weekend and at least eight people died. 

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said an air force Hercules would be used to transport New Zealanders in urgent need of evacuation from Vanuatu.

Key said the Government had so far pledged $2.5 million to help with immediate relief and its efforts so far were focused on emergency relief.

Animated graphic shows Pam's course on Monday morning. Source: NOAA

 - Stuff

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