Auckland Airport shut down for more than four hours last night affecting national and international flights of visitors, business people and other travellers.

And civic leaders took in the storm damage for their areas.

All international flights were temporarily delayed after Auckland Airport shut its runway from 9pm last night until just after 1am this morning. Harbour ferry sailing were also cancelled.

In the city, traffic lights are out, public transport is affected and surface flooding has been reported.

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Civic bosses told of damage, an economist's flight was diverted to Chrischurch after being unable to land in Auckland last night and a businessman said he was sleeping in Christchurch Airport's terminal when his flight was also delayed last night.

Chris Darby, one of two North Shore councillors, last night told people to stay inside.

"If you are in Auckland experiencing severe gale force winds I don't recommend you go outside or drive. I just poked my head out my front door to see major branches sailing dangerously through the air," said the Stanley Bay resident.

Desley Simpson, another councillor, told of roof damage in her eastern suburbs area and warned of partial closures at Temple St in Meadowbank and Maskell St in St Heliers.

Power is out in many parts of the city and the Huapai District School is shut this morning due to power outages. Toilets at that school in the semi-rural area rely on pumps which depend on the power supply.

School has also been cancelled at Mangere Bridge Primary, Mangere College and Three Kings School.

Christina Leung, NZEI chief economist, was one of many air travellers who were delayed last night.

"What was typically a straightforward Wellington to Auckland flight turned into two-and-a -half hours in the air as our plane struggled to land in the Category 2 cyclone and ended up in an unexpected stop in Christchurch," Leung said.

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Kieran Trass, a property cycle forecaster, was on a plane back from Brisbane yesterday but was also delayed.

"No available accommodation in Christchurch. All accommodation is fully booked from previous half a dozen diverted flights, so very little chance of getting a flight tomorrow either as am at the end of the backlogged flights," he said, adding that he was sleeping at the terminal overnight.

Auckland Airport advised passengers to check with their airlines to ensure flights were leaving on time today.

"We had a series of rolling delays as a result of planes being delayed last night and being diverted," an airport spokesperson said this morning.

"We closed the runway just after 9pm last night and didn't open it again until 1.30am - we had to wait to clear debris. There will be ongoing delays today. Our advice is to check with the airlines before coming out to the airport. Be prepared for longer travel times as well to get here."

Auckland Transport reported damage across Auckland.

"There are traffic lights, motorway signage and traffic cameras not working because of power outages and there may be surface flooding and storm debris on the roads."

It told of partial road closures but said most train services were operating this morning.