A Northland man says he's never heard anything like the wind of Typhoon Mangkhut as it battered his new home in Hong Kong over the past few days.

Paul Lafotanoa, a former Kerikeri-based NZME sales rep, moved to Hong Kong with his wife Kaiya, the former deputy principal of Oruaiti School in Doubtless Bay, and their son Eelia just a week before the monster storm hit.

Paul and Kaiya Lafotanoa. Photo / Supplied
Paul and Kaiya Lafotanoa. Photo / Supplied

They have spent the past few days trapped inside their apartment on the fifth floor of a high-rise building on Ma Wan Island.

''I've never heard anything like the noise of the wind. There were times it was pretty scary,'' Lafotanoa said.


A friend living in a high-rise in another part of the city filmed a crane on a skyscraper opposite his building as it collapsed and tumbled to the street below.

A crane collapses in Tai Kok Tsui, Hong Kong

Posted by Ev Eos on Saturday, 15 September 2018

He could barely see outside his own apartment due to the wind and rain, but when he went downstairs to the lobby he saw the wind was bowling people over and many trees and branches had been blown down.

In the midst of it all, with signs and sheets of roofing iron flying around, he was amazed to see an expat family with two small children walking around.

By Monday morning, Hong Kong time, the wind had started easing. Schools were still closed but traffic was starting to return.

After two days stuck inside cabin fever was starting to set in so he was planning to take a look around outside.

The Hong Kong authorities were well organised and had issued residents instructions about buying supplies and taping up windows.

When he stocked up on food he found the supermarket shelves had been stripped of water, fruit and meat.

Trees uprooted by Typhoon Mangkhut around Northland man Paul Lafotanoa's home in Hong Kong. Photo / Paul Lafotanoa
Trees uprooted by Typhoon Mangkhut around Northland man Paul Lafotanoa's home in Hong Kong. Photo / Paul Lafotanoa

Typhoon Mangkhut, said to be the most powerful storm so far this year, has killed at least 64 people in the Philippines, mainly due to landslides.


Mangkhut also caused widespread flooding and prompted the evacuation of more than 2.4 million people in Guangdong in southern China. Wind gusts as high as 198 km/h were recorded on the Hong Kong-Macau Bridge.

Hong Kong authorities put the number of injured at more than 200 but the territory avoided the worst of the storm. Water levels surged by almost 3.5m in places and live fish were washed on to the streets.