A Taranaki farmer has described the moment a tornado blew through his house and slammed his wife against a wall, breaking her collarbone.
John Bamford, a chicken farmer in rural Paraite Rd, just north of New Plymouth, was in his kitchen eating breakfast at about 9.30am when what sounded like "a freight-train" began blowing furniture around his home.
"This thing just came up the valley, grabbed a table and threw it through my conservatory window. I just came running in and tried to grab some furniture, but it wasn't a good move, probably."
Another window in his lounge was sucked out, the ceiling above came down, and the fridge was ripped from the kitchen wall.
Broken glass from his conservatory window was scattered across the front lawn.
"The neighbours' trees all came through too, and annihilated my garden shed."
His wife, Maxine, was outside at the time feeding lambs.
"It slammed her against the house and it's broken her collarbone – I'm not sure what other injuries she's got, and she's a bit concussed – she's not talking that flash. She's still in shock."
The couple's daughter waited with her mother until an ambulance arrived and took her to Taranaki Base Hospital.
Surveying the damage outside his house, he said a chair from his deck had been blown 100m up the road, while two large 40-year-old trees had come down.
One, an evergreen magnolia, was blocking his driveway as neighbours showed up to offer assistance.
"It's flattened our roadside fence, but it hasn't damaged the chicken shed much – otherwise it would have been a much bigger problem."
Residents in the nearby suburb of Bell Block said they saw sheets of iron flying through the streets.
A vehicle was also struck by a trampoline.
Firefighters were also sent to a house in Henwood Rd after part of a roof was ripped off the building.
Niwa said just before 10.30am that over 400 lightning strikes had been reported across Taranaki and Waikato in one hour.
There are also reports of powerlines down in parts of the city. Electricity is out to more than 800 properties in the area.