Taranaki copped a fearsome pounding overnight - battered by gale-force winds gusting above 130km/h that knocked out power for more than 20,000 homes.
Residents are waking this morning to survey the damage wrought by the fearsome winds and thousands are still having having to make do without electricity.
Major power outages were reported in the Taranaki and Manawatu-Whanganui regions. They include major issues in New Plymouth, Inglewood, Stratford, Palmerston North and Waitara.
A state of emergency was declared in Taranaki at 7.50pm, one hour after power had been cut to nearly 23,000 homes, Civil Defence said.
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A pipeline from the New Plymouth water treatment station to the Mangorei Reservoir was also ruptured by a falling tree.
Residents in New Plymouth, Bell Block, Waitara, Tikorangi, Onaero and Urenui were urged to minimise water use.
Fallen trees also caused traffic problems in other parts of the region.
Gusts of up to 140km/h in South Taranaki and 120km/h in North Taranaki were expected to continue until early this morning, when winds should gradually ease.