A Northland gallery owner says he is thousands of dollars out of pocket after torrential rain poured through a partly completed roof during Queen's Birthday weekend.

Ian McConnachie, owner of Masterpieces Gallery in Kerikeri's clocktower building, said after ongoing trouble with leaks in the neighbouring music store the building's owner had agreed to replace the roof.

Around May 10 the roof-mounted air-conditioning units were removed above his store and a Wellington-based company started work on the roof.

After a few days, however, he said the roofing firm was called away to another job. The roof above the gallery had been replaced but flashing hadn't been installed around the air-conditioning vents.


As a result, when Kerikeri was hit by torrential rain on the Saturday of Queen's Birthday weekend — 96mm fell between midnight and 6pm, or half the monthly average in less than 24 hours — water gushed into the building.

Parts of the ceiling in the gallery and toilet collapsed, the gallery was flooded, and the business was forced to close for a week, McConnachie said.

It was fortunate the flood occurred during opening hours because an employee was able to move the paintings to safety before they were damaged. If the rain had hit on Sunday the result would have been ''dreadful'', he said.

He notified the landlord's Kerikeri agents but the roofers didn't return until last Friday, almost a week later.

It was obvious where water came in because he could see daylight where ceiling panels had collapsed.

He was assured the problem would be put right by Sunday but the gallery was flooded a second time before the roof could be made watertight.

By Monday morning the roof had been finished and the ceiling repaired so he was able to reopen.

While the gallery was closed, however, McConnachie estimated he had lost $700 a day in lost sales and costs which still had to be met such as rent and staff pay.

Kumar Vasist, owner of Wellington-based Thor Construction, said the issue had since been resolved, and he was in talks with the gallery owner about compensation. His firm was insured for such events.

Weather, rather than another job, was the reason the Kerikeri roof replacement was put on hold partway through the work, he said.

''It wasn't safe for us to keep doing the job due to the weather,'' Vasist said.

That was disputed by McConnachie, who said May was unusually fine with just three days of light rain in Kerikeri. The first serious rain fell on June 2, the day the gallery flooded.