Live updates of Cyclone Pam's impact in New Zealand and the aftermath in devastated Pacific Island nations.

Read more:
Quiet night for emergency services, but warnings - 'It's not over yet'
Vanuatu devastated - dozens feared dead
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LIVE UPDATES:

4.34PM: All further updates today will be published in this article.

4.30PM:

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4.13PM:

Mount Maunganui charter fisherman Russ Hawkins of Fat Boys Charters said spectacular seas were visible in the western Bay of Plenty this afternoon. "The surf is really big...It's really huge, lots and lots of people looking out, observing Mother Nature at work," Mr Hawkins said from Marine Parade shortly before 2pm. "It's the biggest I've seen for a long time." Cyclone Pam caused a maximum wave height with an incoming tide to reach a monstrous 9.2m.

3.52PM:

3.48PM:

Aid agencies have described conditions in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu as among the most challenging they have ever faced, as the Pacific nation's president blamed climate change for worsening the devastation.

Relief flights have begun arriving in the battered capital Port Vila after Super Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through on Friday night packing wind gusts of up to 320 kilometres an hour.

But workers on the ground said there was no way to distribute desperately needed supplies across the archipelago's 80 islands, warning it would take days to reach remote villages flattened by the monster storm.

Save the Children's Vanuatu director Tom Skirrow told AFP the logistical challenges were even worse than Super Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in November 2013, killing more than 7,350 people and ravaging an area a big as Portugal.

Debris is scattered across Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / AAP
Debris is scattered across Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / AAP

"I was present for the Haiyan response and I would 100 per cent tell you that this is a much more difficult logistical problem," he said.

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"The numbers are smaller but the percentage of the population that's been affected is much bigger."

The official death toll in Port Vila stands at six with more than 30 injured, although experts believe this is a likely fraction of the fatalities caused by the storm.

CARE International spokesman Tom Perry said flying into the capital, where up to 90 per cent of homes have been damaged, was "startling".

"It's been flattened, all that green is basically horizontal, trees are just kind of standing like broken toothpicks, it's quite startling... it's hard to find a home that hasn't been hit," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Skirrow said 15,000 people were homeless in Port Vila alone and flights over remote islands had confirmed widespread destruction elsewhere in the impoverished nation of 270,000.

"It's frustrating, we're still stuck in a small part of Port Vila, we can't even get to the north of this island (Efate) to find out what's going on," he said.

"We've had aerial surveillance (of the outer islands)... all we can tell is what we suspected, that everything's destroyed, but we don't know what's happening with the people right now," he said.

"I am absolutely sure that there will be at least 150,000 people significantly affected, most likely homeless, and about 75,000 of them will be children."

He said aid agencies were preparing supplies but it would likely be three days before airfields in remote islands were cleared.

Debris is scattered across Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / AAP
Debris is scattered across Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / AAP

3.45PM:

Vanuatu's President Baldwin Lonsdale says climate change is a key factor in the devastation wrought on the Pacific nation by Super Cyclone Pam.

The category five system has left six dead and 30 injured in the capital Port Vila alone.

"Climate change is contributing to the disaster in Vanuatu," he said in comments on Australian television ahead of his departure from Japan to Sydney.

"Confirmed dead in (Port) Vila is six, and more than 30 injuries in Port Vila alone."

3.43PM:

3.23PM:

Hawkes Bay residents should avoid beaches for the time being, even though the region was not experiencing especially severe wind or rain, local civil defence staff said.

"We've just had high tide and while the sea was high it didn't cause any issues for us," Hawke's Bay Civil Defence spokesman Ian McDonald said. "So we're just sort of waiting and obviously the next high tide is in the early hours of the morning so we'll just have to wait and see what happens."

Mr McDonald said the early hours of tomorrow morning would be the "crunch point" in terms of seeing how bad damage from Pam would be.

He advised people to keep well away from big, potentially dangerous and unpredictable waves hitting the Hawke's Bay coast.

2.22PM: PAK'nSAVE Gisborne operators said customers had taken heed of Civil Defence advise and sales of many emergency supplies had soared.

"...Stores have seen customers purchasing increased volumes of water, batteries, candles and canned food. Staples such as bread and milk have also featured as people made sure they had enough provisions to get through the storm," a Foodstuffs spokeswoman said this afternoon.

Civil Defence had advised Gisborne residents to stock up on at least three days of emergency supplies.

3.20PM:

2.55PM:

A second Air Force Hercules flight carrying aid for Vanuatu is expected to land in Port Vila by 3pm.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force said the plane left Auckland carrying four pallets of supplies, including generators, portable shelters, chainsaws, tarpaulins, collapsible jerrycans and toolkits.

Red Cross staff, Government personnel were among those on the flight, the first of two scheduled for today.

2.48PM

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence said Tauranga City Council closed the base track at Mauao (Mt Maunganui) and blocked access to Moturiki Island due to safety concerns as wild winds whipped up seas in the area.

The tracks would stay closed until at least 6pm.

Members of the public have been sharing photos of the huge seas on social media.

Forecasters from WeatherWatch warned residents of the East Cape, Gisborne and Northern Hawkes Bay to "hunker down" and wait for conditions to ease later today.

"However the swells are only going to intensify this afternoon with deadly rips and currents," WeatherWatch said.

"Some coastal erosion is highly likely around Hawkes Bay, Gisborne and East Cape over the next few days."

Rain and winds may pick up in other areas even as Pam weakened, WeatherWatch added.

A state of local emergency has been declared for the Chatham Islands due to the combined impact of Cyclone Pam and rural fires.

2.38PM

Mount Maunganui charter fisherman Russ Hawkins of Fat Boys Charters said spectacular seas were visible in the western Bay of Plenty this afternoon.

"The surf is really big...It's really huge, lots and lots of people looking out, observing Mother Nature at work," Mr Hawkins said from Marine Parade shortly before 2pm.

"It's the biggest I've seen for a long time."

Cyclone Pam caused a maximum wave height with an incoming tide to reach a monstrous 9.2m.

That would be probably be the biggest since Mr Hawkins arrived in the region in 1970.

Mr Hawkins said winds were blowing offshore now.

He said local boaties and fishermen all stayed home but he expected people to return to the water on Wednesday, when swells were expected to fall to 0.9m.

Further east, the Fire Service was called out to reports of a roof flying off a building in Hicks Bay, and a large tree falling in the same neighbourhood near East Cape this afternoon.

2.34PM

Photographers get a fright as huge waves crash against the historic wharf at Tolaga Bay north of Gisborne this afternoon. Photo / Alan Gibson
Photographers get a fright as huge waves crash against the historic wharf at Tolaga Bay north of Gisborne this afternoon. Photo / Alan Gibson
Waves crash against the historic wharf at Tolaga Bay north of Gisborne this afternoon. Photo / Alan Gibson
Waves crash against the historic wharf at Tolaga Bay north of Gisborne this afternoon. Photo / Alan Gibson
This tree came crashing down in Manly, Whangaparaoa during some strong gusts. Photo / Doug Macintyre
This tree came crashing down in Manly, Whangaparaoa during some strong gusts. Photo / Doug Macintyre

2.03PM

Gisborne is preparing itself for 9m waves north of Tolaga Bay, Gisborne Civil Defence Emergency Management controller Peter Higgs said this afternoon.

High winds and swell have pushed seawater up to the level of the seawall along the road to Waima - which could flood the road when the tide reaches its highest level at 3.15pm.

People living in low-lying areas at Waima could be evacuated, he said.

Police area commander Sam Aberahama said reports from Anaura Bay indicated waves had reached five to six metres and residents had "never seen anything like it before".

1.44PM

1.29PM:

WeatherWatch.co.nz head forecaster Philip Duncan says northern Hawke's Bay is "likely to be walloped by potentially destructive winds".

"Gales are likely to climb to 150km/h for a time during the day and may be sustained severe gale [hurricane force] for a time in the most eastern, exposed, areas north of Mahia and up to East Cape."

Up to 9pm today, areas north of Napier could expect 180mm to 200mm of rain about the ranges and between 100mm and 140mm near the coast.

1.22PM:

#Coromandel #surf life saving smashing through four metre waves after #CyclonePam. @slsnz

A photo posted by Sean Willis (@_seanwillis) on

1.10PM:

Auckland and Northland are now through the worst of the storm, which left trees toppled and thousands without power. WeatherWatch said Pam was expected to be within 180 km of East Cape by 1pm today. "Now the centre of the storm is moving in on East Cape - and while some data has backed off on yesterday's more ominous outlook for today it still looking potentially damaging," WeatherWatch said.

12.55PM:

12.54PM:

Vanuatu Helicopters have been updating their

following the cyclone.

In an update on Facebook, it said its helicopters and equipment all "survived" the storm, and a pilot was now flying around Vanuatu assessing the situation and preparing to help with the clean up.

The statement said parent company Garden City Helicopters in Christchurch, was looking at sending further helicopters and equipment over to Vanuatu to help with the relief effort.

"Our thoughts are with all the people of Vanuatu at this traumatic time."

12.45PM:

12.33PM:

Red Cross spokesman Andrew McKie said they still had no "definitive answers" when it came to the extent of the damage caused by Cyclone Pam.

Mr McKie said Red Cross volunteers had flown over southern islands in a light plane to assess damage, which was described as "devastating".

"The pane was unable to land so it just did a fly around."

He said an aid flight departed at 10am this morning, with 1200 tarpaulins, 900 water containers and 250 shelter kits on board.

The shelter kits provided tools for people to begin to repair their homes.

Mr McKie said communication was still down with outer islands.

"All the information coming through is coming through from around Efate. Communications with the outer islands is still non existence".

He said volunteer staff would begin to make their way to the outer islands in the next few days.

12.20PM:

12.09PM:

The only fire call-outs related to Cyclone Pam's howling overnight visit were to two trees across roads, at Omapere and Kaikohe. Far North fire chief Colin Kitchen said the region got off lightly, despite the strength of the blow.

This morning Bay of Islands marine radio service Russell Radio had no reports of boats breaking moorings or being damaged. A spokesman said that picture might change if reports came in later in the day.

At Kerikeri, some produce signs and other less sturdy signs were strewn over berms. The most temporary signs, by-election billboards which were last week erected on grass verges in their dozens, were this morning facing all directions -- or torn apart. NAD er

12.08PM:

11.45AM:

Medlands Beach. Photo / Lisa Cunningham
Medlands Beach. Photo / Lisa Cunningham

Ex-tropical cyclone Pam is expected to be within 180 km of East Cape by 1pm today, WeatherWatch says.

About 10am the ex-cyclone was located about 230km northeast of the cape, and is expected to maintain intensity as it moves southeast.

"Now the centre of the storm is moving in on East Cape - and while some data has backed off on yesterday's more ominous outlook for today it still looking potentially damaging," WeatherWatch said.

"Pam was this morning downgraded to an ex-tropical cyclone but the winds and rain around it remain severe and powerful still ... but are substantially weaker than when the storm was Category 5 just 24 hours ago."

Wind gusts reached 144km/h on Great Barrier Island as the ex-cyclone brushed past Auckland.

The storm is now at its closest to New Zealand, and will continue to move closer towards the afternoon.

Strong southeast winds and rain are expected over much of the North Island today, along with huge seas on the east coast.

Eastern Bay of Plenty and northern parts of Gisborne could see wind gusts of 120km/h, which may cause damage to trees and powerlines and could lift roofs and make driving conditions hazardous.

More than 130mm of rain has accumulated in the Gisborne ranges so far, and a further 70-100mm is possible in Gisborne and northern Hawkes Bay today, as well as about the coastal hills of Hawkes Bay south of Napier.

Rivers and streams in these areas will rise rapidly, and localised surface flooding and slips are likely as well as hazardous driving conditions.

11.28AM:

11.20AM:

The Chatham Islands Council Emergency Management Group is warning residents to be prepared for stormy weather approaching.

On its Facebook page, the group said all emergency service representatives had met in council chambers this morning.

Residents were asked to ensure they had enough food and clean water to last several days, as well as alternative lighting and cooking facilities.

All schools in the Chatham Islands were closed until further notice.

The group said they were looking at any areas that may be threatened by high swells predicted.

"Any decision regarding evacuation or road closures will be made at the next meeting, 3pm local time," the group said on its Facebook page.

The cyclone was likely to lie about 240km northeast of the Chatham Islands by midday Tuesday, bringing with it a period of severe gales, rain and heavy swells from Monday evening through to Wednesday morning, MetService said.

MetService said winds between 130 to 160km/h were expected, as well as heavy swells of six metres.

11.19AM: Fog in the capital is causing disruptions to flights this morning.

Some flights at Wellington Airport were delayed and others cancelled this morning, due to the fog.

A Wellington Airport spokesperson said fog was clearing, "however travellers may still experience some delays".

All travellers were asked to check to check for any delays with their airline, or on the Wellington Airport website at www.wellingtonairport.co.nz for flight information.

11.16AM: Hundreds of horses were shifted to shelter as competitors in the country's biggest horse show hunkered down with the approach of Cyclone Pam.

Organisers of the Farmlands Horse of the Year Show were working hard to avoid the spectre of loose horses and trampled people at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds as the weather worsens.

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence are advising people to stay away from beaches with predictions of 6-metre waves until Wednesday. Strong winds and heavy rain are also expected in the south of the region through to tomorrow evening.

Show director Kevin Hansen said all tents were to be taken down because it was unsafe. People were invited to bunk down in showground buildings, including the shearing shed. Read more here.

Photo / Duncan Brown
Photo / Duncan Brown

11.14AM:

Civil Defence has warned that exposed houses along the Bay of Plenty coastline could be at risk from a combination of "incredibly high" sea swells and storm surges generated by Cyclone Pam.

Sue-Ellen Craig, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's strategic communications manager, said they were anticipating three to four-metre swells to enter the Bay of Plenty, on top of a storm surge.

She said the severe weather and swells could impact on urban areas when the heavy seas came ashore, particularly houses right on the seafront. Read more here.
11.09AM:

Huge cyclone waves @ mount right now #cyclonepam #mtmaunganui #towboards

A video posted by Dave Heitman (@dheitman) on

Smile kids #cyclonepam #mtmaunganui

A photo posted by Dave Heitman (@dheitman) on

11.07AM:

10.59AM:

Coastal communities in Hawke's Bay are bracing for heavy seas with 5-6m waves.

The Port of Napier has been closed, and emergency services will be monitoring beach towns during high tide, at 2.30pm.

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management group manager Ian Maconald said the region did not receive as much rain as predicted overnight, and the winds have not been as strong as forecast so far.

But he said it was still important people still prepared for severe weather and keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts as the ex-tropical cyclone moved down the coast.

"Predictions are of 5-6 metre waves. We have visited local communities who may be affected and we will be keeping an eye on our beaches, in particular, Haumoana, Te Awanga, Waimarama and Ocean Beach," Mr Macdonald said.

The Port of Napier has been closed until at least tomorrow.

10.57AM:

Anxiety is building over the fate of Vanuatu charter boat operator Simon Hamer, whose Tauranga-based family has not heard from him since Cyclone Pam hit.

"Let's hope he's okay," wife Corrine Hamer told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday.

At least eight people are confirmed dead in Vanuatu after the massive cyclone tore through the tiny South Pacific archipelago, and the death toll is likely to rise once communications are restored with outlying islands.

Mrs Hamer last spoke to her husband on Thursday when the cyclone was tracking towards Vanuatu and he had just brought his boat up onto the beach at Port Havannah, about half an hour's drive from Port Vila. Read more here.
10.53AM: NZTA spokeswoman Jan McCarthy said Auckland's motorways were busier than normal this morning but there had been no reported incidents so far.

10.51AM:

10.35AM:

10.34AM:

As the cyclone makes its way further south, winds are starting to pick up in Gisborne, MetService meteorologist John Law said.

Mr Law said Hicks Bay and the East Cape had average wind speeds of 85km/h, and gusts of wind of up to 120km/h.

"It's quite exposed but it is also where we are going to find this wind. As we got through the rest of this morning and through into this afternoon Cyclone Pam will carry on moving south and eastwards, and as it gets closer we are going to see those winds picking up for the rest of the morning."

Eastern Bay of Plenty would experience stronger winds as well, Mr Law said.

"We are going to carry on seeing the rain as well. In the last 24 hours [Gisborne] has had around 51mm of rainfall in the city itself.

"If you go up into the ranges there has been about 100mm of rainfall. It's been persistent, but also pretty heavy at times.

"There have been some pretty heavy bursts."

Severe weather warning for heavy rain remained in place for Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and the eastern Bay of Plenty.

The Bay of Plenty east of Edgecumbe would also experience strong winds.

A watch was also in place for strong winds in Taupo, Hawkes Bay and Wellington, Mr Law said.

In an update on its Facebook page, the Gisborne District Council said latest forecasts showed the swell threat to the area remained the same.

It said Tolaga Bay River was becoming an issue, and was likely to flood State Highway 35 at Mangatuna.

10.30AM:

More than 40 people have been evacuated in Gisborne district this morning.

Gisborne Civil Defence said the army helped evacuate 24 people from Anaura Bay, 10 were evacuated from Te Araroa and six had to be evacuated from Mangatuna, north of Tolaga Bay - where the river has risen more than 5m in four hours.

Driftwood has been strewn across the road and the airstrip is unusable.

East Cape Road is currently impassable thanks to a land slip, while fallen power lines have closed the Puketiti Road south of Te Puia.

Tolaga Bay wharf. Photo / Alan Gibson
Tolaga Bay wharf. Photo / Alan Gibson

10.23AM:

A plane carrying aid to the cyclone stricken area of Vanuatu is about to leave New Zealand.

On board the plane, due to fly out from Whenuapau Airbase, were emergency management crew, health officials, a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and logistics staff.

Meanwhile a Hercules aircraft with NZ media and Government officials is due to fly out at midday.

10.12AM:

9.58AM:

Auckland and Northland are through the worst of Cyclone Pam with 2000 people out of power overnight and trees toppled in Northland, while the category three cyclone surges towards Gisborne.

Auckland Civil Defence controller Clive Manley says most of the power outages have been fixed and "only a handful" of households remained without electricity.

He said the impact was "not as severe" as previously thought, with waves half the expected height and less rainfall.

Mr Manley said Pam was "still a powerful cyclone" however, and is expected to hit Gisborne hard this afternoon.

A spokeswoman from Auckland Airport said some flights had been delayed and reshceduled this morning, including an Air New Zealand flight to Vanuatu's capital Port Vila.

All ferry services were cancelled from Gulf Harbour this morning, as well as a 6.15am sailing from Half Moon Bay.

A photo posted by @chriswbaylis on

9.52AM:

Hawkes Bay Emergency Management spokeswoman Helen Shea said the area had not had as much rain or wind overnight as initially predicted.

"It seems to have lost considerable power, so we might just get a stormy day.

"However, that could change as the day goes on and the cyclone moves further south, so we are just urging people to stay prepared and keep up to date with weather forecasts."

She said their biggest concern was heavy swells predicted for the east coast.

"We're expecting five to six metre waves and the big watch will be on areas such as Haumoana and Te Awanga."

She said Civil Defence staff had spoken to those who might be affected in these coastal communities yesterday.

"If the decision is made to evacuate then Civil Defence would work with them to do that."

Ms Shea said the Napier Port had been closed as a precaution, however, no schools had been closed in the area.

9.49AM:

Prime Minister John Key told Newstalk ZB as it was "very early days", it was difficult to know what damage had been caused by Cyclone Pam.

"I spoke to the Prime Minister of Vanuatu last night. He is going to give us the best assessment he can as he can get more information available."

Mr Key said a Hercules was sent with supplies yesterday, and two more would be sent today.

Where to make a donation:
New Zealand Red Cross
Unicef New Zealand
Rotary New Zealand
World Vision
Tear Fund
Save the Children
Oxfam New Zealand.

9.48AM: Northland Civil Defence said the area appeared to have escaped the aftermath of Cyclone Pam "largely unscathed".

Spokesman Tony Phipps said as of 7.15am today there were no reports of serious damage or injury following the arrival of the cyclone yesterday afternoon.

The highest rainfall between yesterday afternoon and early this morning, was 67.5mm at Glenbervie, just east of Whangarei while the maximum wind gust recorded at Cape Reinga yesterday was 118.5km/h, Mr Phipps said.

"Emergency services have reported a quiet night with few storm related incidents although daylight may reveal some damage that we are as yet unaware of given the heavy seas off Northland's east coast overnight.

"Our thoughts are now with those in the Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty areas which are expected to feel Pam's effects a bit more severely."

9.41AM: Northland appears to have had a lucky escape from Cyclone Pam with only a few fallen trees and power outages reported.

Tony Phipps, group controller for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, said this morning there were no reports of serious damage or injury linked to the cyclone.

Mr Phipps said Northland Regional Council figures showed the highest rainfall between yesterday afternoon and early this morning had been 67.5mm at Glenbervie, while the maximum wind gust recorded at Cape Reinga yesterday had been 118.5km/h.

"Emergency services have reported a quiet night with few storm-related incidents, although daylight may reveal some damage that we are as-yet unaware of given the heavy seas off Northland's east coast overnight."

Fire service area commander for Whangarei and Kaipara Mike Lister said five minor calls were received last night, mainly to report trees down on roads.

A taskforce of firefighters arrived from Auckland last night to keep tabs on Cyclone Pam however Mr Lister said he believed they did not attend any incidents.

"Our team of volunteers would have gone to the calls so the Auckland crew were on stand by. We were very, very lucky," he said.

About 50 customers in the Waiotemarama Gorge area in South Hokianga have been without power since about 11pm last night. Top Energy spokesman Peter Heath said most faults were caused by trees in or across lines and said the outage was expected to end at 1pm today.

Mr Phipps said given the devastation Cyclone Pam had caused in the Pacific, Northland -- which often bears the initial brunt of tropical cyclones that reach New Zealand -- had been fortunate it had eased as predicted as it drew closer.

"Our thoughts are now with those in the Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty areas which are expected to feel Pam's effects a bit more severely."

9.35AM:

9.25AM:

9.00AM:

8.50AM:

Volunteer Service Abroad said it could still not account for four Kiwi volunteers in Vanuatu.

Speaking to TV3's Firstline this morning, VSA spokesman Junior Ulu said the agency ensured that prior to Cyclone Pam hitting, its volunteers were in secure accommodation.

"We have our processes and procedures in place to make sure they're safe, and solid structures, extra food, and we were in communications with them right up until the time that the cyclone hit.

"We have been able to contact volunteers in Port Vila, and also in Luganville and Santo - but because communications are down it's been harder to connect with the volunteers that are in the outer islands."

Mr Ulu said they had worked with MFAT and other NGOs that were moving into the space, to find out how they can help "connect" and "communicate".

"Last communications we had with them was that they were bunkering down and making sure they were safe."

The destruction in Mele Village:

8.45AM: Vector said shortly after 8am that the Waiheke outage had been restored.

"This means there are no customers affected following ex Tropical Cyclone Pam's track through the region," a spokeswoman said.

8.42AM: Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye told TV3's Firstline that New Zealanders in areas expected to be worst hit should remain "vigilant".

"My main message to people particularly in Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, is we've still go it going past us. Be vigilant, be careful, be sensible in terms of what you are doing.

"There are still reports that we could receive pretty high winds, those swells are a bit worrying."

She said a close eye was being kept on the Chatham Islands, and three Civil defence staff had been deployed from Canterbury this morning.

"New Zealanders should remain particularly in those affected areas."

8.35AM:

Waves building and breaking east of Opotiki. Photo / Daniel Morrison
Waves building and breaking east of Opotiki. Photo / Daniel Morrison

8.15AM:

Aid began arriving in Vanuatu as the tiny Pacific nation struggled to uncover the devastation wrought by what relief workers warned could be of the worst storms to ever hit the region.

Communications were still down across most of the archipelago's 80 islands, although the airport in Port Vila reopened with limited facilities to allow in much-needed aid.

Two Australian airforce planes landed with food, shelter and medicine while a New Zealand military aircraft also arrived loaded with eight tonnes of tarpaulins, water containers, chainsaw packs and generators.

"This is likely to be one of the worst disasters ever seen in the Pacific, the scale of humanitarian need will be enormous... entire communities have been blown away," said Oxfam's Vanuatu director Colin Collet van Rooyen.

Vanuatu Red Cross president Hannington Alatoa said: "Effectively the whole country... is flattened."

Despite the problems, relief began to trickle in to Vanuatu, a day after President Lonsdale made an emotional call for international aid.

World leaders, including Australia, Britain, New Zealand and the European Union, pledged relief as workers on the ground warned the death toll could rise because of poor food and water supplies.

Where to make a donation:
New Zealand Red Cross
Unicef New Zealand
Rotary New Zealand
World Vision
Tear Fund
Save the Children
Oxfam New Zealand.

People on a dock view yachts damaged in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / UNICEF Pacific
People on a dock view yachts damaged in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / UNICEF Pacific
People walk along the shore where debris is scattered in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / UNICEF Pacific
People walk along the shore where debris is scattered in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / UNICEF Pacific
Debris strewn around a lone tree in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / World Vision
Debris strewn around a lone tree in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo / World Vision

8.00AM:

Vector has advised that all overnight power outages in the Auckland region have been restored. However, vegetation has struck lines on Waiheke Island resulting in an outage near Oneroa affecting about 600 customers.

Vector had crews stationed on the island when preparing for Cyclone Pam so are already working on this outage.

Winds are expected to remain strong until the middle of the day and people are urged to treat all lines as live.

7.50AM: The Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Group emergency coordination centre was activated at 5am, to support the response to Cyclone Pam across the region.

Civil Defence said early reports indicated no significant damage overnight but there was a localised power outage at Waihau Bay.

Maraenui, Omaio, Te Whanau Apanui Area School, Ruakokiri, Cape Runway and Kutarere schools in the East Cape would be closed today as a precaution.

"We continue to monitor the situation as the winds are expected to develop this morning east of Whakatane."

Regular updates would be provided on the Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management's website and on www.facebook.com/BOPCivilDefence.

7.46AM:

Weatherwatch head analyst Philip Duncan said "the storm was powerful yesterday and remains dangerous and powerful today" as it begins to close in on East Cape.

"As we head through Monday morning the gales are likely to increase around the north eastern North Island -- with damaging gusts likely for some areas."

The cyclone's centre was just north of East Cape and as the day progressed it would track in closer to Gisborne, he said.

Mr Duncan said although Pam had been downgraded to an ex-tropical cyclone, the winds and rain around it remained "severe and powerful".

Mr Duncan said latest models showed there was a "little more distance between Gisborne and the centre of the storm".

Although this would not make much difference to rough weather forecast for the north eastern corner of the North Island, it would limit how far west into the North Island the storm reached, Mr Duncan said.

7.45AM:

Monday morning adventures #cyclonepam #autumntime #happyday

A photo posted by leanne31 (@leanne31) on

7.42AM:

The aftermath on the coast. Cyclone Pam continuing to smash the East Coast of NZ - stay safe!

A photo posted by George Turner (@exploringnz) on

7.30AM:

7.26AM:

Northland appears to have escaped the aftermath of Cyclone Pam largely unscathed.

Tony Phipps, group controller for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, said as of 7.15am today officials had no reports of serious damage or injury.

Mr Phipps said Northland Regional Council figures showed the highest rainfall between yesterday afternoon and early this morning had been 67.5mm at Glenbervie, just east of Whangarei, while the maximum wind gust recorded at Cape Reinga yesterday had been 118.5km/h.

"Emergency services have reported a quiet night with few storm-related incidents, although daylight may reveal some damage that we are as-yet unaware of given the heavy seas off Northland's east coast overnight."

Mr Phipps said given the devastation and misery Pam had caused in the Pacific, Northland -- which often bears the initial brunt of tropical cyclones that reach New Zealand -- had been fortunate it had eased as predicted as it drew closer.

"Our thoughts are now with those in the Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty areas which are expected to feel Pam's effects a bit more severely."

7.23AM:

Gisborne Civil Defence spokesman Richard Steele said Gisborne had experienced heavy rain throughout most of the night but "very little" wind.

"It's raining quite heavily in town and we are expecting the seas to start rising mid to late morning, which is our main area or concern. There is no flooding or road closures at this stage."

Mr Steele said they have pre-deployed resources up the coast, in case they are needed.

"Everybody in 'at risk' areas have been warned."

Some people in the coastal township of Anaura Bay, just north of Tolaga Bay, have already self evacuated, Mr Steele said.

The area was likely to be "inundated" by the storm, he said.

Some schools in the Gisborne area would be closed today as a precaution, he said.

7.17AM:

MTSAT infrared map shows Cyclone Pam blowing the clouds south, east and west.
MTSAT infrared map shows Cyclone Pam blowing the clouds south, east and west.
Cyclone Pam looms over East Cape. Image / WeatherWatch.co.nz
Cyclone Pam looms over East Cape. Image / WeatherWatch.co.nz

6.57AM:

Speaking to TV3's

Firstline

this morning, MetService meteorologist John Law said although the storm had been re-classified, it was still an "incredibly intense system".

"It's not far away and we are still going to find some strong winds, heavy rainfall and those large swells around the northern and eastern coast."

He said this would not only effect the North Island, but also the Chatham Islands, where winds would pick up through Monday and Tuesday.

6.49AM: In Auckland 81 households still remained without power after the region was battered by strong winds last night.

Vector said while the Auckland region experienced "gusty winds and some heavy bursts of rain" the number of customers affected was low.

It said there were a total of 81 customers without power in Takatu.

Power had been restored to Kumeu and Riverhead after many were without power throughout the night.

Vector said crews had worked overnight to ensure sites were safe and would continue working on outages this morning, however winds were expected to remain high until around midday.

6.40AM:

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management has activated the National Crisis Management Centre in response to the cyclone.

The response was being managed by several of the regional Civil Defence emergency management groups along the North Island's east coast and the Chatham Islands.

On its website, it said "large and possibly damaging waves and strong winds" were being experienced on the east coast of the North Island, especially from Hawkes Bay to Cape Reinga, and on the Chatham Islands.

People were advised to stay off beaches and out of coastal waters.

Local and regional Civil Defence authorities would be providing detailed information for those in areas expected to be worst hit by the storm.

Residents in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu hunkered in emergency shelters for a second straight night Saturday after venturing out to find their homes damaged or blown away by the powerful storm, aid workers said. Packing winds of 270k/ph, Cyclone Pam tore through the tiny South Pacific archipelago early Saturday, leaving a trail of destruction and unconfirmed reports of dozens of deaths.

6.35AM:

In its latest update, MetService said cyclone Pam has now been re-classified as an 'intense extra tropical cyclone'.

However, it was still expected to bring heavy rain, strong winds and swells to north east areas of the North Island later today.

The cyclone was expected to maintain its intensity, or intensify slightly, as it moved south-southeast, MetService said.

As at midnight, the cyclone was situated about 450km to the northeast of Auckland and 450km to the north of East Cape.

MetService said the cyclone was expected to lie about 150km east of East Cape, or northern Gisborne, by midday today - before it would move away from the New Zealand coastline towards the Chatham Islands.

The cyclone had already brought 100mm of rain to parts of Gisborne overnight, and winds of between 140 to 150 km an hour to exposed parts of Auckland and Northland.


6.22AM: Extra care is being encouraged as people begin to move around this morning.

This Raw video from Isso Nihmei/YouTube briefly showns the aftermath of Cyclone Pam.

Cyclone Pam's damaging winds haven't made landfall, but Civil Defence authorities aren't convinced just yet, according to WeatherWatch.

Auckland controller Clive Manley says a single gust of wind can cause all sorts of damage.
"It's not over yet, although it's looking very fortunate the way we've experienced things so far."

It's raining steadily in Gisborne, where Newstalk ZB's Laura Heathcote is keeping an eye on developments.

"It's not heavy, but it's definitely coming down in big, fat droplets. It's been going since about 2.30 this morning.

"The wind is starting to pick up a little bit."

Heathcote says coast dwellers - including motor camps and a school - are worried about storm surges.

"In some cases, there's not a lot of stop bank in front of it so many homeowners are concerned about storm surges coming later today and what impact that might have on their property."

Staff at Civil Defence agencies around the North Island have had a much quieter morning than expected.

Clive Manley says he's only aware of a single incident.

"A tree came down and blocked a road up Northland way, but that's the only incident we're aware of."

Where to make a donation:

New Zealand Red Cross
Unicef New Zealand
Rotary New Zealand
World Vision
Tear Fund
Save the Children
Oxfam New Zealand.

- NZME., Northern Advocate, Bay of Plenty Times, Hawke's Bay Today, AFP, AAP