The clean up job is underway but Whanganui has come through Cyclone Gita's high winds largely unscathed.

Parts of Whanganui lost power, trees came down and Cooks Gardens was temporarily closed as winds of more than 100km/h battered the region on Tuesday night.

The storm also fanned the flames of a couple of fires but authorities say the region was lucky.

"We were surprisingly unscathed which may have been because some trees and branches were brought down in the wind we had a couple of weeks ago," Whanganui District Council senior parks officer Wendy Bainbridge said.


Council contractors are out today clearing branches and debris while Powerco staff are working to restore power to about 2000 Whanganui properties.

The highest wind gust clocked at Whanganui Airport was 113km/h.

"But it dropped off quicker than we expected which is good," Whanganui District Council emergency manager Tim Crowe said.

"Up towards Taranaki it got windier. I think we were lucky, I know there's still people with power out but it seemed pretty quiet and I'm really happy with that."

Winds batter trees, Cooks Gardens

Cooks Gardens was closed at 8.30pm on Tuesday when part of the Whiskas Stand roof began lifting but repairs were carried out this morning and the ground has since re-opened.

Several trees came down around the district including one which temporarily closed Rangitatau East Rd.

The road to the North Mole was also closed this morning while debris was cleared.


Bason Botanic Gardens, where the production of 'The Tempest' begins tomorrow night, was not damaged and council staff are tidying the area today.

Fanning the flames

Fire and Emergency New Zealand also attended several incidents overnight including a shed fire at Westmere.

"That was totally destroyed," Whanganui senior station officer Brian Coskerie said.

Two appliances attended at about 1.30am and the cause is being investigated today.

"We've been lucky here in Whanganui, extremely lucky. It was mainly powerlines, trees and a couple of roofs lifting, nothing too major."

Rural firefighters were called to a scrub fire just north of Hunterville when high winds caught a controlled burn that had been lit on a farm earlier in the day.

"Basically when we got there it was safe and we made sure it was controlled and it was allowed to burn out," Manawatu principal rural fire officer Matthew Smith said.

Fire crews attended a scrub blaze which flared up near Hunterville during Tuesday night's storm. Photo/ Supplied
Fire crews attended a scrub blaze which flared up near Hunterville during Tuesday night's storm. Photo/ Supplied

Volunteer crews from Marton, Mangaweka, Hunterville attended with Rangitikei rural fire fighters at about 9pm.

Mr Smith said it was a reminder to be wary of wind or forecast wind when lighting open fires.

People could visit for information before lighting fires.

Downed lines cut power

Powerco network operations manager Phil Marsh said extra crews have been brought in to restore the parts of the electricity network which had been taken out by the wind.

While coastal Taranaki was hit the worst, 2000 Whanganui properties were without power at 7am on Wednesday including homes in Westmere, Fordell, Aramoho, Maxwell and Kai Iwi.

That number was down to 1100 by early Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Marsh could not predict when power could be restored to all customers.

"Our biggest concern is downed lines and the need for everyone to treat them as being live," he said.

"Please keep yourself, children and animals well away from downed lines and call emergency services immediately."