A childhood holiday home of writer Katherine Mansfield has been severely damaged by massive waves that crashed over the front of the beachfront Wellington property in last night's storm.

The Days Bay property was among three destroyed by the surging swell.

Rupert Sutherland lives next door to the property, but his house has escaped unscathed from the storm because it was built on higher ground than his neighbour.

He said the worst of the storm struck about 2am and he was woken by the sound of the waves.


He found his neighbours Peter and Petra Sim, who own the former Mansfield property "sheltering in their car''.

They stayed the rest of the night with Mr Sutherland.

Waves were so high they were crashing over the Sims' roof.

"The water pouring off the roof was incredible,'' he said.

Inside, the water was "waist high''.

Today, waves could still be seen crashing through the house as the storm continued.

Mansfield spent her summers at Days Bay as a child and one of her most famous short stories, At the Bay published in 1922, was based on her time there.