A new video reveals the destructive force of a tornado as it barrelled towards an Ōhope holiday park.
The footage, filmed last night, shows debris from a building sucked up by the tornado and scattered into the air.
It was filmed at the Surf and Sand Holiday Park in Ōhope.
"My daughter and I were at home and we looked out the window at the hail and rain and my daughter spotted the tornado," said Andrea Inman who lives 50 metres from the Ōhope Holiday Park.
Inman said it didn't look like one at the time but as it got closer and started moving they realised it was.
"You could just see it on the coast line. Moving closer and closer and getting bigger and bigger."
"Then it stopped raining and hailing and went quiet. You could hear birds tweeting. It was quite spooky."
She said the wind and hail came back and within seconds it went from being out at sea to coming through the park.
"I've never experienced anything like it. We prepare for earthquakes and tsunami but never tornadoes - nothing prepares you for that. It was incredibly dangerous and I should never have been standing up their filming it to be honest."
"You don't realise the severity of it and just how dangerous that was. Because you've never seen it, it just seems surreal. I was so worried that people were down at the beach walking their dogs and things like that."
"But everyone seems to be fine. There has been a lot of damage. I like there was an angel looking out for us because all the damage was surrounding the house but nothing into the house or backyard."
"That roof in the video was flying straight towards us and I thought it was going to hit but it flew over and around."
She said it was a disaster zone this morning but from about 6.30am there had been about 50 people from the community help with the clean up.
The tornado, which struck the eastern end of Ōhope at 5.45pm yesterday significantly damaged at least two properties and caused moderate damage to a further four properties.
The most significant damage was at the Surf and Sand conference centre, and at least one nearby home in Harbour Rd, Whakatāne District Council said this morning.
"Fire Service units from Ōhope, Whakatāne, Edgecumbe, Tāneatua and Rural Fire attended to assist with securing damaged properties and Police patrols were increased overnight to provide additional security," a council spokesman said.
"A Whakatane District Council wastewater pump station was also damaged, shutting down the sewerage system in the area. The wastewater service restarted overnight and repairs to the pump station structure will be undertaken today."
Meanwhile, more than 10 houses were also badly damaged in New Plymouth after a second unrelated tornado ripped through the central North Island.
Last night Fire Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) crews from around the New Plymouth area attended 37 tornado-related incidents.
"Eleven houses were assessed to have major damage and another 20 were assessed with minor damage," a FENZ spokeswoman said.
New Plymouth was struck by one of the tornadoes around 5.30pm, uprooting trees and tearing iron roofing from houses.
Police and Fire and Emergency last night set up a command centre at the intersection of Belt Rd and St Aubyn St in the city.
Both emergency services would be door-knocking to check on the welfare of those in the affected areas.
The roof of Odette Bastin's home was sucked up by the tornado causing significant damage.
"It's pretty f***ed. The whole roof's gone and all the internal ceilings are coming down and there's water all through the house.
"I freaked me out, I couldn't stop shaking for ages," she told Newstalk ZB.
Bastin, a home-based educator, was at the house with a care child, her son and his partner who was expected to give birth three days ago.
Civil defence has told her not to enter the house because it is not safe. She was told by a policeman they might be able to come by tomorrow and get some belongings.
State Highways 44 and 45 near New Plymouth were closed following the tornadoes with strong winds in the area at 6.10pm.
Both roads have since reopened but are operating under stop/go controls.
Shaun Hall, who videoed the tornado in New Plymouth, said he was driving home from work when he turned a corner and all the power went out.
"I was like 'oh, that is weird' and I couldn't see anything because it went pitch black.
"As I pulled over I noticed sheets of iron flying through the sky and I clicked straight away what it was. I quickly grabbed my phone and took a quick video."
Hall saw about five or six roofs get ripped off nearby houses.
"It probably lasted all of about 20 seconds before it headed up the road," he said.
"I wasn't too keen on following, not when the iron was coming over the bonnet of my ute."
Power was also cut to parts of New Plymouth after it was struck by lightning, thunder and heavy rain.
Power was out to 1712 homes around Moturoa, according to Powerco.
The power went out at 5.30pm and Powerco estimated it would be restored by 10.30pm.
On Tuesday morning the company's outage map had not reported outages in the New Plymouth area.
Further north, Ohope, on the east coast, was also rocked by a tornado that completely uprooted one building.
Top 10 Holiday Park Ohope general manager Mark Inman said now the sun was rising he and other members of the community were picking up the pieces left behind in the wake of the tornado that uprooted the holiday park conference building.
"We lost our conference centre and it's just been blown apart. Its left us with our building scattered 500 metres down the road. It has affected five houses across from the park as well."
He said it was a strong community that "would get on with it and begin picking up the pieces".
"That is what's great about Ohope.
"Obviously, everybody is in a bit of shock. Thank goodness nobody was harmed."
Thunderstorms and hail expected across central and northern New Zealand
Conditions in central and northern New Zealand remain unsettled on Tuesday as a northwest flow turns to the west this evening.
"There is a moderate risk of thunderstorms over northern New Zealand from Northland to Taranaki and across to Bay of Plenty and Taupō, and also about the Kāpiti Coast, Wellington, northern Marlborough, Nelson and Buller.
"These thunderstorms are expected to bring localised heavy rain of 10 to 25 mm/h, hail 5 to 15mm in diameter, and for the area from Waikato to Taranaki strong winds gusting 90 to 100 km/h," MetService says.
In the evening the thunderstorm risk was likely to decrease to low, a 20 per cent chance, from Auckland to Northland and across to the Bay of Plenty.