Herald on Sunday
‘A whole series of miracles down the street’
A split-second decision saved a young mum from injury when she got out of bed to check on her baby moments before tree branches smashed through her bedroom window.
Erin Walker was sleeping near her baby in their Landscape Rd, Papatoetoe home when a tornado cut a path of destruction across South Auckland. Alarmed, she got up to check her baby.
A second later the branches crashed down and through the bedroom window.
Glass was thrown onto the pillow where Walker had just been. And in the garage, part of a tree pierced straight through the roof.
No one was hurt, but the drama didn’t end there. Within seconds the tornado also tore off tiles, metal sheeting and insulation from Walker’s back roof, sending the materials flying into properties behind.
“It all lasted about 10 seconds,” Walker said. “Looked out the window, came and gone, just like that.”
Meanwhile Tyson Bourne-Matagi was looking out the window of his Seddon Ave, Papatoetoe, home when everything started swirling upwards in the air.
“It was going around and around,” the 9-year-old said.
So the St Joseph’s School Ota¯huhu ¯ pupil grabbed his mum’s hand, and she grabbed his nana’s hand.
And they started praying. When the chaos stopped there were holes in the roof, corrugated iron crumpled in the yard and power lines spiralled down into the street like misplaced oversized shoelaces. Their trampoline was also ruined. It all happened in a matter of seconds or minutes, Tyson’s mum Theresa Bourne-Matagi said.
In Puhinui Rd, Heather Haycock also heard the tornado’s roar, initially mistaking it for a group of motorcyclists.
The lights flickered and her daughter said there was “wood flying past the window and twirling around in the sky” outside their Papatoetoe home.
“It was just like you see in the movies. I half expected a cow to come flying past,” Haycock said.
A neighbouring house under construction was now “all over on one side”, but there were also tales of near-misses involving the more precious.
Among the fortunate were a nearby sleeping mother and baby who escaped serious injury when a piece of wood smashed through their bedroom window, Haycock said. “There’s a whole series of miracles down the street.”