'The house shook, then I could see the sky'

DRENCHED: Kirsten and Cameron Elliot stand inside  their storm-damaged home.
DRENCHED: Kirsten and Cameron Elliot stand inside their storm-damaged home.

A Matamata couple heard a thunderous clap before watching in horror as the roof of their house was ripped off during this week's storm.

Kirsten and Cameron Elliot's rural home in Davidson Rd will cost thousands to fix after severe gales ripped off the roof, caving in their ceiling and flooding their home.

The power of the gales hurled the corrugated iron from their hill-top home across the road into a paddock. The wood from the roof was impaled so deep into the paddock that it could not be moved.

Gib and insulation was strewn from the couple's home to the neighbouring paddock.

Kirsten Elliot said they first felt their three-bedroom home shudder. "The house shook, then I could see the sky," she said.

Cameron Elliot was in bed sleeping when he heard the "thunderous clap".

"I got a big fright, it sounded like an explosion went off. I've never had something like that happen."

The ceiling in the kitchen and in the couple's bedroom was completely gone, and rain drenched their electronics, carpets and furniture.

The only room that went unscathed was the bathroom, which was newly renovated.

The couple are are now in the process of sifting through the remains for items that can be saved.

Meanwhile, not far away, Lesley and Kelvin Hunt used a bit of Kiwi ingenuity to save their roof.

Part of the roof on their Old Te Aroha Rd house had come off so Murray Hawkings, the couple's son-in-law, decided to use the bucket of a tractor to hold down the corrugated iron.

"My son-in-law came around, had a look and took off to the shed.

Next thing you know I see the tractor coming up," Lesley said.

Water had begun to leak through the ceiling, which will eventually need to be replaced.

"We get what's called the ‘Kaimai Buster', the wind that comes from the ranges," Lesley said.

"This is the worst we have experienced in six years. The last time we had heavy winds, the trellis and glass came down."

Matamata Fire Chief Kevin Curtis said the phonecalls on Thursday were crazy.

"This is the busiest day we have had this year."

The fire crew had been flat out from 7.30am, "going from job to job", Curtis said.

By 1.20pm the station had already attended 22 call outs that involved fallen trees, house damage and a man who threatened to set himself on fire during the heavy rain. 

Waikato Times