Tornado rips through Mt Maunganui video


A tornado has ripped through Mount Maunganui without warning, seriously damaging houses and leaving debris strewn across roads.

Stunned residents gathered on the paths of what is typically a quiet cul de sac in Mount Maunganui on Friday to survey the damage of a tornado that ripped through it. The tornado hit just before 8.30pm on Thursday, damaging homes and buildings, causing havoc with powerlines, pulling down fences and scattering debris across roads.

Lodge Ave was one of the worst hit areas with winds tearing roofs from houses, downing trees and blowing insulation through the streets.

Were you affected by the tornado? Send your newstips, photos and video to

Three trampolines had been spun into the Mount Maunganui Intermediate school grounds from neighbouring properties up to 100 metres away.

One home lost two thirds of its roof, which ended up outside the school's front entrance, said Mount Maunganui Intermediate principal Lisa Morresey.

"A trampoline came from about 100 metres down the road, through the car park and flew into the corner. There were piles of debris, roofing from houses, piled in the corners of the school grounds, the office windows had been blown in and back out, with debris inside."


Jon Mayson's roof landed in his neighbour Murray Gough's property.

Damage in the wake of the tornado that ripped through Mt Maunganui.

Damage in the wake of the tornado that ripped through Mt Maunganui.

Damage in the wake of the tornado that ripped through Mt Maunganui.

A trampoline wrapped around a streetlight after being flung in the air by Tauranga's tornado.

The storm had ripped the roofing off about three of Bay Park stadium's bays, flinging it across the field and out into the street.

There were reports of over 20 houses with roofs lifted off following the tornado.

The tornado blew this piece of wood right through the roof of this house into a bedroom.

The tornado ripped off roofs, downed trees and blew down fences.

Damage from the tornado on Links Ave, Tauranga.

Damage from the tornado in Links Ave, Tauranga.

A worker cuts up tree downed by the tornado on Golf Road.

1  of  12
« Previous « Previous Next » Next »

The most heartbreaking destruction was the damage to the school's new turf, worth $120,000.

"We had just had it upgraded through community grants, the fences are buckled, hockey goals have been lifted about 20 or 30 metres, you can just see the path of the tornado."

Winds on the school's weather station, which remained intact, measured 175kmh.

They were strong enough to bend 10cm steel shade sail poles, rip the sails off and tear down fencing.

Morresey had made the decision to close the school for the day at 9.30pm Thursday.

"I'm really glad we made that decision after seeing the damage this morning. The whole school was covered in debris, three trampolines from here different areas ended up on school grounds.

The tornado tore through ASB Bay Park stadium.

The tornado tore through ASB Bay Park stadium.

"The blessing is it didn't happen during school hours."

Morresey was thankful there was no structural damage to the main buildings.

Areas would be cordoned off before the school reopened on Monday.


Down the road Sharon Wright was still trying to deal with the devastation.

"It is just overwhelming, I don think I have slept at all," she said.

Wright, who is pregnant, had been at home with her husband and three children under four-years-old when the tornado pummelled through.

"There was this really loud bang, I just grabbed the kids, made sure they were okay, we grabbed photo albums, some paperwork, whatever clothes we could for the kids and got out, we only had a short time before the power went out."

Winds took off two thirds of the Wrights' roof off, leaving heavy rain to flood the home.

"The roof ended up in Mount Maunganui intermediate. The fire brigade came through and covered what they could, but it's just flooded - the bathroom bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, everything."

BRUCE MERCER/Waikato Times

Mt Maunganui Intermediate school principal Lisa Morresey discusses damage to the school and grounds.

The family had left for the night and arrived back on Friday to a sodden home.

Ad Feedback

"There were four homes in a row all the same and it looks like it has just hit our house," said Wright.

"The storage people are coming through, take what they can, and we'll have to rip up the carpet."

Clean up operations were in full swing along the street with residents checking in each other and loading debris into skips.

Surviving the Tornado


Bay of Plenty residents were forced from their homes as a tornado ripped through late Thursday evening.

Bev Mayson heard the cracking of timber before the roof of her Waitui Grove home flew off into the neighbour's yard.

"It all happened fairly quickly, in about 30 seconds there was a loud bang, crack and a crash, the noise was horrendous."

Water began pouring through the roof, flooding the second level of Bev and husband Jon's house.

"We weren't sure what had happened, we went out the back door and the roof was in the backyard of the neighbours, everything landed over there. Upstairs is just flooded."

"The flat section was completely torn off. We had to turn the power off." 

Firefighters were on site within 10 minutes moving furniture from upstairs to the lower level, but there was no way to stop the heavy rain pouring through."

Builders hired to renovate the bathroom found themselves ripping up carpet and helping remove furniture Friday morning. 

Roofing iron from Bay Park lays strewn through a fence following the tornado.

Roofing iron from Bay Park lays strewn through a fence following the tornado.

"They have taken the roof away, cleaned up," said Jon.

"All this can be fixed, you can't fix people that are broken. It is so lucky no one was injured."

"All the houses around us are untouched, it was like thunder and then it was all gone."

"It's like being struck by lightning, you never expect to be hit by a tornado in New Zealand is not something that happens every day."

A trampoline was wrapped around a street light when a tornado whipped through Mt Maunganui.

A trampoline was wrapped around a street light when a tornado whipped through Mt Maunganui.

The tornado had left 11 homes and five commercial properties near Baypark Stadium severely damaged.


Plane flips at Tauranga Airport

LIVE: North Island weather chaos, day two

Wellington flooding: Best reader photos

More rain for the North Island


Mount Maunganui resident Murray Gough walked out to find his neighbour's roof had crashed into his property following the tornado.

"We heard the wind and this almighty crash as the whole roof, in one piece, landed on top and punctured two holes in our roof...the water just came pouring in."

Gough said within minutes the tornado had whipped through, splitting the branches of a pohutukawa, and sending ceiling insulation into the air.

"We thought it was our roof and looked up to see Jon's insulation all over his roof. The wind smashed the branches of the pohutukawa.

"They only thing that could do that sort of localised, fairly violent, would be a tornado."

The Goughs, who had lived in Mount Maunganui for 27 years, had sold their property and settled on Friday.

"We had the poor new owner through this morning.

"I would imagine it was a freak weather event, from the forecast thought it would be rain but we weren't too concerned about it until the strength of the wind got up."


A terrified Mount Maunganui family had no warning of a sudden tornado which ripped the roof off their home.

Tauranga fire senior station officer Mark Keller said he and a crew went to the aid of several badly damaged homes after the tornado struck.

The worst damage he saw was to a home on Waitui Gr in Mount Maunganui.

"About three quarters of their roof had come off and it had been blown on to the neighbour's roof."

The family had no warning of the tornado before what they had described as "a sudden loud noise and ripping sound."

They were "understandably upset," Keller said.

The home was uninhabitable, so the Fire Service had helped to secure their belongings.


The tornado moved through Waitui Gr, Golf Rd, Lodge Ave, Ascot, Epsom, and Owens Pl through to Bay Park.

There were reports of over 20 houses with roofs lifted off, and 11 with significant damage, as well as damage to five commercial properties, Bay of Plenty Civil Defence said.

Damage forced at least eight families to leave their homes on Thursday night, Bay of Plenty fire chief Murray Binning told Radio New Zealand.

Along with damage to homes, the twister had hit commercial properties, including Bay Park Stadium.

The storm had ripped the roofing off about three of the stadium's bays, flinging it across the field and out into the street.

Around 10 per cent of the roof was ripped off, with debris left lying in a nearby field.

Bay Venues chief executive Gary Dawson told Newstalk ZB it would take a while to repair the damage.

"It looks like it's clipped the roof of the speedway stadium, so it's taken out about 10 to 15 per cent of the roof."

There were no reports of injuries, Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said.

Mt Maunganui Intermediate was closed today as a result of "considerable damage" to the school grounds from the twister, a statement on the school's webpage said.

"As there are health and safety hazards, the school will be closed on Friday 15th May. Ministry personnel will be in tomorrow morning to make an assessment and we will inform you of any further developments."

Insurance claims were starting to come in from the tornado as well as yesterday's floods in the Wellington region, but Insurance Council CEO Tim Grafton said it would take time for the full damage to be assessed. "It takes some weeks for us to get the numbers of claims and costs of damage from our members," he said.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers

Poi dancing good for elderly

Poi, a traditional Maori dance, involves weights on the ends of cords being spun in circular patterns.

The Maori dance can help seniors improve their balance and memory, according to a new study.

Wakeboarder towed by seaplane

Brad Smeele, Brant Hales and Jesse Cassrels set new standards to raise awareness.

Wakeboarder Brad Smeele injured his spine three years ago. His friends are going to extremes to help raise awareness.

Auckland teacher shortage will get worse

More than two thirds of Auckland's new primary and intermediate teachers are thinking about leaving the city, a new ...

More than two thirds of Auckland's new primary and intermediate teachers considering moving due to cost of living, survey reveals.

Digger flips, driver trapped

Emergency crews are working to free the driver after his digger flipped over in Flat Bush on Monday afternoon.

Emergency crews are working to free the driver after an incident in Auckland's Flat Bush.


Capital's cycle lanes a Kiwi-first

A proposed new contra-flow bike lane on Wellington's Cuba St will allow people to ride both ways along part of the ...

Proposed new lanes will allow Wellington's cyclists to ride against the flow of traffic.

Ticketed in free park

Shane Leach has been parking his motorhome in the free car park since November, but has been ticketed twice by Wilson ...

The tiny car park is a "hidden gem" in the capital. That didn't stop Wilson Parking.

Celebrations timed rugby team out

Masterton Red Star have received a valuable reminder about converting tries in a timely fashion.

With seconds to go, they scored a try. But their celebratory high-fives came too soon - and went on too long.

Do we have hazard fatigue?

Civil Defence says it's important to follow a trusted source for official warnings.

Study finds widespread scepticism of official disaster warnings.


Huts still under water video

24072017 News Photo:David Walker/Stuff. Aerial view of the Lower Selwyn huts.

Why was Canterbury's Lake Ellesmere was not opened to the sea ahead of the weekend's flooding?

More rain, snow likely

Snow at Tekapo

Heavy rain and snow are set to hit on Thursday when a new polar blast hits.

Ballantynes gears up for new build

Ballantynes was one of the first central city retailers to reopen after the February 2011 earthquake.

Department store to reopen some departments in new premises while it rebuilds.

Anger at flooding

Southshore's estuary frontage at the weekend.

Southshore residents angry homes flooded in storm's tidal surge due to lack of protection.


Gunpoint carjacking arrest

People were seen exiting a central Hamilton home with their hands up during the arrest on Monday afternoon.

Man arrested over the gunpoint carjacking of a Chevrolet Caprice in Hamilton.

Dairy owners fearful

The owner of the Holland Superette in Fairfield, Hamilton, was struck in the head with a hammer after refusing to hand ...

Terrified shopkeeps play robbery roulette and with odds stacked against them.

Chiefs up against history

Liam Messam and the Chiefs are up against history as they try to stay alive in Super Rugby.

No team has travelled from South Africa to New Zealand, then won a playoff match since 1998.

Millions in profit, nil tax

Chris Joblin, chief executive of Tainui Group Holdings.

A longstanding tax break has the usual suspects fired up, but Waikato-Tainui is happy to announce record breaking profits.


Faull family success

06042017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ.   Saturday big read,  Faull Farms at Tikorangi is one of Taranakis biggest ...

Gavin Faull is one of two Taranaki entries on the latest NBR Rich List.

A virtual remedy

Digital health deputy Janine Maruera photographs Makaiah Nui's tummy as she is held by cousin Tesha Whakatutu,  during ...

A combination of local gumption and modern technology is bringing health care to a town with no doctor.

'Moonshine' madness 

Drunk on home brew whisky or "moonshine" a South Taranaki man assaulted his partner and drove dangerously. (File Photo)

 A South Taranaki farmer was so drunk on moonshine he had little memory of assaulting his partner.

Something beginning with C

240717 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Central School in New Plymouth has had the 'C' stolen from its front entrance. ...

Be on the lookout for a missing C. It belongs to Entral School, formerly known as Central School.


Fresh future for college

New Queen Elizabeth College principal Chris Moller was welcomed with a powhiri on Monday. He wore the school's korowai ...

Shifting from esteemed boarding school to smaller college is a meaningful challenge, a principal says.

Another gorge slip

A new slip has fallen on the already-closed Manawatu Gorge road.

The closed Manawatu Gorge road is blocked by a third slip that came down this weekend.

Vaping up in smoke

Jason Seath and Jessica Byron of Hawke's Bay Vapour demonstrate vaping. Seath says people are turning to it to quit smoking.

Vapers say mayor blowing hot air after he votes for vape-free city policy.

Last supper for church video

Bishop's Warden Steve Fowler outside the church building.

Earthquake prone Levin church has been part of the community since the 1890s.


Recyclable cups end up in landfill

Smart Environmental manager Yuri Schokking with recycled plastic at the Richmond Resource Recovery Centre.

Almost all our disposable coffee cups are going nowhere near the recycling plant.

Coming back to life

Peter Sutton says he wholeheartedly endorses the AgeConnect project.

AgeConnect Nelson Tasman is launched to target loneliness, social isolation affecting older people.

Weekend crime spree

The door at the Milton Street Store in Nelson was replaced with a sheet of plywood after a ram-raid attack on the store ...

Another dairy raid caps a spate of crimes across Nelson on a busy weekend for police.

Cadets' voyage of discovery

The Nelson Sea Cadets with LTCOL Josh Wineera, New Zealand Defence Advisor to Fiji and LT Sam Wilson, Military Liaison ...

It was hardly smooth sailing, but Nelson's young sailors learned plenty about theimselves.


Guerrilla knitters yarn-bomb town

West End retailers Stephanie Thompson and Jacqui Harnett are behind Kaikoura's yarn-bombing project.

Many a good yarn has come out of quake-hit Kaikoura over the past few months, and that doesn't seem to be wrapping up anytime soon.

Teen denies knifepoint robbery

Dylan Joseph Dredge admitted seven charges at the Blenheim District Court. (File photo)

He wasn't trying to rob the woman, he was just attacking her with a knife, court hears.

First look at Kaikoura village video

The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery Accommodation Village.

Mark von Huben​ normally wears a tour guide's hat when he visits Kaikoura - now he's behind the wheel of a dump truck carting rubble away from slips blocking SH1.

$231m boost for SH1

A slip on State Highway 1 after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

New cycleway announced for 60km section of quake-hit highway north of Kaikoura.

South Canterbury

'Lake' consumes farm

Farmer Geoff Wallace on his Hook Swamp Rd property, which is still inundated with water.

Rapidly rising water in a flood-prone area meant a South Canterbury farmer ended up with a trailer load of dead calves.

$500k clean-up bill gallery video

Ashbury Mowers & Heating business in Washdyke had to get rid of chainsaws and line trimmers that had water damage. ...

Cleaning up the Timaru District aftermath storm will come with $500k price tag.

'Tough as teak' ex-AB dies

Tom Lister played eight tests as an All Black against, Australia, France, Wales, South Africa and the 1971 British and ...

South Canterbury's most-capped test All Black Tom Lister dies, aged 73.

Chainsawing through

Ricky Hunter had no way out of his Bouverie St property other than on foot, after a tree fell down onto the driveway ...

In a bid for freedom after the weekend's storm, Ricky Hunter picked up a chainsaw.


"The culinary world has just lost a gentleman"

Scott Richardson, pictured here in 2015, in his role as a catering and hospitality teacher at Southland Boys' High School.

Well-known Invercargill chef Scott Richardson died this morning in Dunedin Hospital.

'Business as usual'

Aparima College principal Kaye Day. The latest Governmental report on the College said "urgent" improvement in ...

A troubled Southland secondary school is to continue as usual, despite its leadership coming under fire.

Hotel facing potential delays

Invercargill Licensing Trust general manager Greg Mulvey in front of the proposed site of the ILT's new multi-million ...

The Invercargill Licensing Trust has unearthed some speed bumps in its plans to build a new inner city hotel.

Defending champions on fire

Wensley's Fire cyclists from left to right, Nick Barclay, Marty Jillings, Ben Coley and Tai-Anne Blair set off in the ...

The fire service team has confirmed its the fastest emergency service in Invercargill.

Ad Feedback