A Havelock North couple were taken to hospital with minor injuries after their car was hit by one of dozens of trees which fell at the height of the storm in Hawke's Bay last night.

Jim and Margaret Ryniker were in one of two vehicles hit by a falling tree in Lucknow St about 8.30pm, by which time Cyclone Cook had done most of its unexpected damage in a tempest lasting barely three hours, and badly damaged at least three other parked vehicles across the two cities.

Two were in McDonald St, Napier, both sections from Latham St to Kennedy Rd and Kennedy Rd to Carnell St were expected to be closed for much of today as crews from Superior Exterior Tree Care worked to remove at least fallen trees which were partially Another area hit wholly blocking the road.

At least 40 streetside trees were felled in Napier, with the most complete destruction appearing to have been on the western side of Bledisloe Ave, Maraenui, where 13 trees were brought down on sections opposite the suburb's shopping centre, near completing the selection-clearing which started when Housing New Zealand began removing housing units in the area four years ago.


At least eight trees were felled in the Georges Drive Reserve and there were numerous other incidents, including the felling of a large oak tree in the grounds of Havelock North Primary School, while the Pakowhai Rd northern approach to Hastings was closed this morning while workmen cleared a tree which had fallen about 200 metres south of the intersection with Farndon Rd.

Paul Manning was in his McDonald St when a tree crushed his car in the street outside, about 100 metres from the entrance to McLean Park.

It was about 6pm when he parked the car in the same place he's parked since he bought the Ford Falcon four years ago.

"At eight o'clock I went out ti head off to see someone, and that's when I saw the tree on there."

"I heard noise before that but I didn't really take much notice because there was things flying around everywhere," he said.

At the opposite end of the street Manda Giddens had just welcomed a friend from Auckland, when visitor Theresa's Honda wagon parked across the road became another victim, a tree crashing across it's rear end.

Ms Giddens said: "We were watching a movie and heard the car alarm go off, and came out and saw the damage. You could hear the trees cracking up the road, like is it going to happen, is the next one going to come down?"

Some alarms were being set-off by the wind rocking the vehicles, startling fellow McDonald St resident Melissa Hall who went outside onto her patio just in time to see kerbside tree crashing across the path, and being stopped from crashing into the house, braced by a fence and one of the smallest trees on her property.

A similar near-miss happened near the Morris St entrance to Nelson Park, off Latham St, where a large tree had fallen, just striking the corner of a villa. A workman cordoned off a wider area around the tree, worried about the possibility of another tree falling in the same area.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton visited some of the sites today, and said about 40 council-owned trees had been felled on roadsides and reserves around the city, ending the Easter break of some staff before it had begun. Some were out most of the night, as were staff of such as arborists and tree fellers.

Mr Dalton said many other trees may also have to be felled, and inspecting them will be a high priority of staff over the next few days, apart from the immediate clearing those that had already fallen.

Power supplier Unison Network was today working to restore supplies across the region, with an irony that extra crews had to be brought-in from Tapo and Rotorua to help in Hawke's Bay.

"They were the areas we expected to be hit," said Unison spokesman Dannny Gough.
He said trees and flying debris had caused widespread damage, much of it about 8pm, and crews worked till about 10.30pm, before benig "called-in" in the interests of safety before returning to work today.