Piha residents are "disappointed" by a lack of warning about the storm that tore through their small community as they enter their third day without power.

Piha Domain Camp Ground leasee Fiona Anderson said it was a "life threatening event".

"We had nothing from the forecasters, and nothing from Civil Defence. I am really disappointed. This was a life-threatening event."

The campground was "pretty full" on Tuesday night when the storm struck, and was a terrifying experience for some, including for one woman when a tree went through the windscreen of her car.


Anderson had evacuated the campground three times already this year based on warnings. This time, there were none.

"On the advice of MetService I have evacuated the campground three times this year over busy weekends, each time costing me about $10,000, and nothing has happened," Anderson said.

"When there were those flash floods and the boys died at Cascade Falls, there was no warning.

"And now, when we have 213km/h winds at Manukau Heads, hurricane-force, we had nothing. How do they get it that wrong? We have a life-threatening weather event, and we get no real heads up."

Piha Domain Motor Camp leasee Fiona Anderson. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Piha Domain Motor Camp leasee Fiona Anderson. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"I have lived in Piha 22 years and never experienced anything like that. Friends up the valley said in their 40 years here they had never experienced winds as strong as those.

"All the windows at the back of my house have been blown in, and the marine grade awning on my back porch has been shredded like tin foil.

"Fortunately most people staying here were in campervans. Only two people were in tents.

"I found them in the kitchen, looking quite scared. I said, 'Don't go back out there, it is not safe', and put them in a cabin."

Tuesday's storm smashed windows in Fiona Anderson's home in Piha. Photo / Fiona Anderson
Tuesday's storm smashed windows in Fiona Anderson's home in Piha. Photo / Fiona Anderson

The winds uprooted many big trees, and threw one through the windscreen of a camper's car.

"She was pretty shaken up," Anderson said.

Anderson lent the woman money to get it fixed.

"You have got to do the right thing at the right time. I am grateful to be able to help."

The power outage was a major problem for the community which largely relies on pumps for both water and septic systems.

Lines company Vector said this morning 44,000 properties in the Auckland were still without power, down from a peak of 182,000, and it could be another 48 hours before all properties were restored.

It had previously advised Piha residents it would be back on by 6pm last night, then 6pm tonight, and now 12pm tomorrow, meaning it will be at least three days without power by the time the lights go back on.

Vector also warns strong winds forecast later today may not only hamper restoration work, but create new outages as trees weakened by Tuesday night's storm may come down.

Anderson said it might not even be until after the weekend before full power was restored.

"There are two power poles snapped in half, that we know of.

"That tends to take a full day to repair. And there are lines down everywhere."

That parts of central Auckland were fixed first didn't bother her.

"So much of the city is without power, and we are only a small community of a few hundred people."

Now they had the generator working, the campground was offering its 10 toilets to the community to use.

"We are proud to be able to offer those 10 toilets," she said.

"Many of the houses have their tanks under the house, which means they need the pump to run the water and toilets."

Most people had gas hobs for cooking too.

"My advice to anyone out here is to make sure you have a gas hob, for times like these. Or at least make sure you have gas for the barbeque."

Tuesday's storm uprooted trees at Piha Domain Camp Ground. Photo / Fiona Anderson
Tuesday's storm uprooted trees at Piha Domain Camp Ground. Photo / Fiona Anderson

The campground was officially closed but she was still offering places for stranded travellers.

"Giving someone a camping spot is no skin off my nose."

A travelling cyclist arrived this afternoon, only to discover the campground was closed.

"I couldn't turn him away. He had just biked over the hill and was going to have to cycle back."

Anderson offered him a cabin for the night, free of charge.

"I think we should just try and turn this into a positive as much as we can.

"The community is all coming together to help each other out."

The Piha Cafe and General Store both had generators going.

"We are a resilient community over here, and we take pride in that.

"The RSA has a generator, they will be open tonight, fish and chips for all, and cold beers, if you are into that.

"Nobody was hurt or killed. It is important to remember, we are not in a refugee camp after being bombed out of our homes in Syria, or living with our kids in a car in the city because we can't afford rent. This will be sorted.

"But how grateful will I be when I can have a hot shower."

Storm damage in Piha. Photo / Fiona Anderson
Storm damage in Piha. Photo / Fiona Anderson

Piha resident Adam May said it was "carnage" after the storm in Piha.

"It was the worst storm I have ever seen."

May was driving back into Piha from Auckland about 8.15pm Tuesday when the storm began to kick in.

The road was covered in branches and about six large trees had fallen over the road.

His family's home just up the hill from South Piha beach had been blasted with the full force of the storm.

"The fence at the house had been blown apart, and there was sand everywhere.

"I just couldn't get over the amount of sand, it was about half a foot deep."

At North Piha, the protective canvas on a partially-constructed house had been ripped off and it was getting soaked. There were broken trees everywhere.

"The top of an oak tree had flown 50m in the wind. A friend on Glen Esk Rd had three of his windows smashed, and he has glass all through his house, also a huge tree fell into the stream near his house so he needed to get that out with his digger."

May said the biggest issues for Piha residents were around running water.

"A lot of people are on gas so they are fine for cooking, but many people are having issues getting water.

"Some people are taking 20L bottles into the streams to fill them up, as we have done in the past during dry spells."

There are generators going most of the day and the community is helping each other out.

May has had to travel into Henderson each day to use the internet for work.

"It has been hard to communicate, with no internet and no phone coverage."

But despite all of the issues, the community was making the most of the situation, he said.

"Everyone is being really helpful. Some people are joking like it is an apocalypse.

"It is like going back in time, it is kind of relaxing really."