A tornado has reportedly ripped through a Tauranga retirement village.

A caller to the Bay of Plenty Times said a tornado had ripped through a retirement village in Pyes Pa.

"Fences are down, a shed has gone walkabouts," she said.

"It's just blown up awful."

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Jonny Curreen's new 3m by 2.5m shed was lifted off the ground and flown into a neighbouring property.

Gaye and Kevin Brooker were home when the shed was picked up off the ground.

"Now it is living in the ranch slider of the neighbour's house," Gaye said.

A trampoline in their front yard was also tipped on its side and three fences were broken.

Gaye was trying to shut the windows when she saw a glass table from outside "go flying past".

Kevin heard the wind howling and tried to shut the bathroom windows but he said the wind was so strong he could hardly close them.

"That was when it struck," he said.

He phoned his friend Ben Louis who was working in Pyes Pa to say "there has been a mini tornado".

Beryl James was at her home on Pyes Pa Rd when her double garage was lifted up and blown all over her backyard.

The 87-year-old was going over her accounts at the dining table when the wind started to pick up.

"Suddenly I thought I don't like the sound of that, it just got worse and worse," she said.

"There were leaves and all sorts flying past and I thought I better get away from the window."

Beryl James was at her home on Pyes Pa Rd when her double garage was lifted up and blown all over her backyard.
Beryl James was at her home on Pyes Pa Rd when her double garage was lifted up and blown all over her backyard.

James was worried the house could be blown over by the strong winds before the neighbour phone to say her garage had gone.

"I am not deaf...the wind was so strong," she said.

Assessing the damage from the lounge window, James phoned her son Murray James who was working on Maleme St.

"I got quite a shock," she said. "Just as well I haven't got a car anymore because that was where I used to put it."

"It was really frightening," she said. "I hope I never see anything like that again."

Murray James said a worker had taken a phone call from his mother to say there had been a mini tornado at their home.

"I came home expecting a door had been blown in but I didn't expect this," he said.

Murray said he felt a sense of disbelief when he saw the garage and everything inside had been blown across the backyard.

"I had a quad bike and trailer and motorbike inside but they are fine."

He said he knew the weather forecast predicted rain "but we didn't expect a tornado".

"When you are at the mercy of nature there is nothing we can do."

Metservice meteorologist Tom Adams said tornadoes were incredibly rare "but that's not to say it didn't happen".

Adams said he was not able to confirm the weather event via the Metservice network at this stage.

"More often than not, things named as tornadoes are actually strong gusts of wind or waterspouts."

However, the uplifting of the shed and downing of the fence did tie in with tornado behaviour, he said.

"There is a low risk of thunderstorms throughout the Bay of Plenty today. When you've got thunderstorms there is a risk of tornadoes," Adams said.