Inter-island ferries have been suspended after the storm that battered the South Island today whipped up 7-metre waves in the Cook Strait.
The 2pm sailing from Picton to Wellington turned back when waves reached 5m and all further crossings are on hold while the storm makes its way north, a KiwiRail spokeswoman said.
Conditions would be assessed through the evening and a decision would be made later on when sailings could resume, she said.
The wild storm ripped its way up the South Island through the day, with winds peaking at 140km/h, bringing trees down on power lines, lifting roofs and blowing out house windows.
At 3.30pm, 2500 Orion customers were still without power, down from 7000 earlier.
The MetService has issued strong wind warnings for Christchurch, the Banks Peninsula, coastal Kaikoura and the Otago Peninsula north to Oamaru.
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