An electrical storm in Christchurch has cut power and damaged buildings.
Residents are reporting hailstones the size of golf balls and spectacular lightning strikes during the storm that started just before 6.30pm.
The Fire Service received about 20 callouts, most false alarms triggered by the weather or about damage to roofs and conservatories caused by hail, said a spokesman.
Power remains off in Southbridge, south of the city centre. Orion said the problems was due to be fixed by 8.30pm.
Ambulance services reported no storm-related injuries.
Student Lucia Alonso-Gonzalez was "still a bit shaken'' from the storm, which sent her diving under the table for safety.
She was at home in Avonhead working when she heard hailstones start to fall on the roof just before 7pm, but didn't know what it was at first.
"The dog went crazy and I still wasn't sure what was happening, I thought it's not an earthquake because I know by now how they feel.
"I honestly went under the desk because I thought it could go through the roof. I've never felt something like this before.''
The stones were about 3cm in diameter, she said.
In the northern suburb of Strown, Leisha De Roles was surprised the hail didn't seem to have damaged her house.
"It was scary. It was kind of like rumbling to begin with then heaps and heaps of lightning. It felt like it would crack windows and stuff.''
Herald reader Leisha de Roles sent in a dramatic photo of her brother on the roof of their home during the storm.