Police are searching for a boat with two people on board that has been reported as overdue after leaving Tryphena on Great Barrier Island.
A Police spokeswoman said the boat left Tryphena after a fishing competition last night and failed to make contact with friends or family who were expecting a call at 5pm.
"We were notified at 11.45am today that a boat with two people on board was overdue," she said.
She said the Auckland police launch was searching the area around Great Barrier Island in heavy seas.
Coastguard spokeswoman Georgie Smith said police had asked Coastguard to support the search but they were unable to do so because of the weather.
"The severe winds are such that at this stage we are not prepared to put people into the search. The safety of our people is paramount," she said.
"Our Coastguard Air patrol has been unable to fly due to the weather conditions. We have volunteers on standby ready to help."
Metservice meteorologist Ciaran Doolin said conditions were rough and visibility had been poor for searchers, but the weather was improving.
Winds up to 110km/h along with rain and developing swells were making for "fairly tough conditions out there".
"The swell is not especially large but the combination of strong winds and heavy rain will have reduced visibility and made the sea quite rough as well," he said.
"Things are gradually easing with respect to the winds so that's a positive, and the main rain as well has passed more quickly than we were anticipating for the Auckland region."
Shane Harris, who runs the Swallow burger restaurant at Claris, posted on Facebook that the storm blew out a window in his house and ripped a hatch off his caravan.
"We actually had a window smashed at our house today, that's pretty bad. The wind made the latch slowly wiggle and then the door blew off," he told the Herald just after 6pm.
"That was around midday. It's still bad."
A resident of Tryphena said the weather has been "absolutely ghastly" today.
"They said it was going to blow at 55 knots... it did it in gusts so you didn't even know it was coming, I would think."
Items had been knocked off the woman's veranda by the wind.
She said it had settled down a bit now, but it was raining.
Organisers of the Black Jug Fishing Haggle have declined to comment.
The Haggle is described on the Great Barrier Island tourism website as the area's "quintessential open fishing competition".
Last year's competition drew in 140 entrants.