Up to 93 Spark customers in the Tauranga area were still without broadband and landline services yesterday after significant lightning strikes damaged a cable on Wednesday.

MetService meteorologist Hannah Moes said a cluster of thunderstorms moved across Tauranga city on Wednesday afternoon, bringing localised downpours of intense rainfall.

"Around 250 lightning strikes were recorded in the area. This is a significant amount of lightning but is normal for these types of storms in New Zealand."

Moes said several cloud-to-ground lightning strikes were detected near Tauranga between 3pm and 5pm on May 16.

"However, just a single ground strike in the right place is enough to cause damage," she said

One of the affected customers this week, Mills Reef Winery, had its internet service restored only about 11 am yesterday but was still experiencing problems accessing its email.

Mills Reef general manager Nick Aleksich said a ground strike which happened about 4pm on Wednesday at a neighbouring property cut the supply to both internet and email.


"The outage has caused major disruption to our business, not so much to the international side, but for our domestic customers," he said.

"Despite the internet service being restored, we have no idea how many emails are waiting in the queue to be answered and how long it's going to take to fix this problem.

"We understand the problem crosses over between more than one mobile network and it could a few more days to fix," Aleksich said.

"It's also unknown how much business we have lost in the past two days," he said.

Aleksich said the difficulty was the damaged cable was shared by other mobile providers, and he had no idea where Mills Reef's issues fitted into the priority list for repair.

A spokesman from Spark told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that the outage had affected up to 93 voice (landline) and broadband services in the Tauranga area.

The estimated time for all affected customers to have their access restored was on or before 7 pm on Friday next week, he said.

The spokesman said if customers were able to connect to their internet service there should be no reason they could not access their email.


Chorus was working hard to fix the damaged cable and get the problems sorted out as quickly as it possibly could, he said.