Tornado hits South Island, lightning hits North
Arahura Pa: A kohanga reo has been devastated and homes damaged after a tornado ripped through a West Coast settlement yesterday morning.
The destructive twister follows thunder and lightning strikes on homes and a Department of Conservation building, and the rescue of two men from a car as floodwaters rose.
The destructive wind funnel barrelled through Arahura Pa north of Hokitika, tearing buildings apart and leaving debris scattered in its wake. Thick pieces of wood were snapped like matchsticks and sheds disappeared skyward into neighbouring farmland. Power remains off to the small settlement, which now faces a massive clean-up to repair broken windows, bowled fences and a kohanga reo that has been left unrecognisable. Its roof landed about 100m away across railway lines. Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu chairwoman Lisa Tumahai said the kohanga reo at Arahura Pa had borne the brunt of the twister.
Those living in the path of the tornado described the ominous roar as it closed in on the community, travelling up the nearby river at about 5.15am.
A building at Arahura Pa devastated by a mini tornado.