Over the last decade, insurers paid out more than $1b in storm damage - a bill only expected to mount in the face of climate change. Jamie Morton looks at the 10 costliest weather events of the 2010s.
$91.46m: Debbie puts Edgecumbe underwater
On the bright blue morning of April 5, 2017, a cyclone-swollen Rangitaiki River spilled through a breached stopbank at a rate of 100,000 litres per second and swept through the streets of Edgecumbe.
As floodwaters reached 1.5m high in the town, boats had to be used to help evacuate some of the Bay of Plenty town's 1600 residents.
When the water had subsided, a week later, mud and silt covered roads, and only about 170 people were allowed to return home.
Kyle Stevenson described how the flood "literally opened up in front of my house", before it picked up the building and pushed it into his neighbour's section.
A shed containing a classic car collection by local engineer Rob Morris – among them a 1966 Mustang, two 1959 convertibles and a 1957 Chevy – were also put underwater.
The deluge came as a result of remnants of Cyclone Debbie, which caused widespread damage when it slammed into the North Island on April 4-5.
The rain was torrential, and especially in Te Puke, which received 290mm in just four days – or twice the normal amount for the entire month.
Other Bay of Plenty towns like Minginui and Ruatoki were cut off; 11 people who evacuated Taneatua were trapped in their cars by floodwaters; and a state of emergency was declared in Whanganui and Rangitikei, due to heavy rain.
In Auckland, a Titirangi slip blocked a shared driveway, trapping five families inside their homes, and a cliff in Torbay partially collapsed from underneath homes, sending trees, fences and gardens into the sea.
$74.5m: Winds that moved a 20,000-tonne ship
Over September 10-11, 2013, strong winds blew into much of the South Island and lower North Island, causing downed power lines and trees, damage to houses and businesses, and flipping trucks, boats and caravans.
Cromwell resident Jade McLellan described how a huge gust of wind, which she thought was a tornado, picked up her father's 9m, two-tonne boat and flung it over the fence.
"We had a big gust of wind come through which picked up the neighbour's trampoline and spun that above fence level," she said.
"Then we saw the boat flip up off its trailer and into the nextdoor neighbour's yard.''
Power to around 28,000 homes and businesses across Canterbury was knocked out, and around 800 irrigators were damaged, costing millions.
At Christchurch's Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, an ostrich named Bubbles died in the storm, while the printing and delivery of the The Press newspaper was delayed.
Further up the country in Wellington, a 20,000-tonne container ship dragged its anchor due to gale-force winds, causing it to come close to shore, and a yacht in Evans Bay also broke its mooring and washed up on a nearby breakwater.
Nearly all trains into the capital were cancelled, as were all flights, before the storm kept moving north, flipping trucks and trailers in Wairarapa.
$74.4m: Tornado hits Auckland
On April 10, 2018, an active front swung in from the west and hammered much of New Zealand with heavy weather that included severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and gale-force winds.
In Auckland, damage from winds that reached more than 120km/h left 120,000 homes and businesses without power, tore roofs from several homes and sent trees on to cars, trapping several people.
One gust at the Sky Tower was recorded at 146km/h – and a tornado ripped into the Swanson Railway Station, blowing timber and roofing iron for 100 metres.
Tornadoes also cut a path 500m wide through National Park Village, where six homes were destroyed, and damaged 11 homes in Rahotū, in Taranaki, forcing seven families to be relocated.
One trucker, Rick Field, was on his way to deliver fertiliser in South Taranaki as he drove straight into the eye of the tornado.
"Once the trees started snapping I thought, whoa, this is it," he recounted.
$61.7m: The 'Tasman Tempest' strikes
A trio of big deluges fell across the upper North Island over March 7-12, 2017, driven by a slow-moving subtropical low-pressure system in the Tasman Sea dubbed the Tasman Tempest.
In the first big dump on March 7-8, rainfall reached once-in-a-century levels in some areas, and saw nearly 200 school children wading in waist-deep floodwater out of Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges.
Nearby, emergency services raced to the rescue of trapped motorists; and in Kawakawa Bay, 15 homes were hit by flooding and slips, and the local kindergarten was nearly totally destroyed.
In Clevedon, a police car was swept away in a flash flood, leaving its driver stranded on the roof.
When the second deluge arrived, over March 10-11, Auckland experienced its equal-wettest March hour on record, recording 27.6mm.
And when the third huge fall came, a day later, more than 320 properties in the city – most in western suburbs – were swamped.
Thousands were people were without power, less than 24 hours after Vector had just repaired major faults to its network.
$55.32m: Ita's Easter visit
The remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Ita landed a hard blow on both the north and south islands when it hit on April 17, 2014, in the thick of Easter weekend.
Police were forced to urge motorists to avoid Coromandel, where slips and trees came down across roads and seaside Tairua was cut off to the south.
Down in Blenheim, the Taylor River burst its banks, flooding Nelson St, and SH1 south of Ward was closed while contractors cleared debris littered across the road.
In Auckland, strong winds put 17,000 in the dark – mostly as a result of trees crashing into power lines – and Tamaki Dr was inundated when high tide came in the midst of a storm surge.
A section of Nelson Hospital's roof had to be replaced after it had lifted and was damaged by the winds, while Westport lost its entire power supply.
Insurers reported receiving dozens of calls for claims: first from Auckland, and then from right across the South Island.
$49.3m: Southland's one-in-50-year deep freeze
Six days blizzards in the second week of September, 2010, brought Southland's worst spring snow storm in history.
The snow initially hit coastal Southland, leaving the highlands largely untouched, before the wintry blast – the combination of a deep low and cold winds dragged straight from Antarctica – properly set in.
It was estimated that half the farms in Southland were affected by the one-in-50-year storm.
The extent of the stock losses were huge; one farmer lost 2000 lambs worth $160,000; another found 700 dead when he was finally able to regain access to his land at the month's end.
Many dairy farmers, especially around Edendale, Winton, Eastern Southland, were forced to jettison thousands of litres of milk because tankers were unable to reach them amid the white-out.
Driving was perilous, with several cars sliding off roads, and authorities closing sections of highways.
$46.2m: Tasman's big downpour
Over April 19-22, 2013, torrential rain soaked the country – and nowhere was hardest hit than Nelson and the Bay of Plenty.
Campers had to be rescued from an isolated, flood-ravaged Waihi Beach; homes from Katikati to Te Puke were engulfed; and a slip knocked out a transformer and cut power to the Tauranga suburb of Otumoetai.
The next day, on April 21, a rainstorm over Nelson and Tasman proved one of the most intense ever recorded in New Zealand; near Richmond, rates of 101mm per hour climbed to one-in-500-year levels.
At the Tasman District Council office in Richmond, 216 mm fell in 24 hours.
Slips closed SH60 over Takaka Hill and numerous more roads were cut off, with some motorists having to be rescued after abandoning their flooded cars.
Many homes were damaged, as was Nelson's Saxton Stadium and local aquatic centre.
$45.9m: Fehi lashes the West Coast
As heavy rain and damaging winds from ex-Tropical Cyclone Fehi on February 1 last year, it was the West Coast that fell into its firing line.
On that day, around 115 tourists were left stranded at Fox Glacier, and heavy rain and gales cut power, closed schools and shut businesses across Greymouth.
As a state of emergency was declared across Buller District, the Westland Milk Factory in Hokitika stopped production and dozens of farmers in the region had to dump milk because of power cuts and impassable roads.
The Nelson region also copped much of Fehi's fury: homes were evacuated in Ruby Bay, and in Monaco, police had to use an inflatable boat to help people off the peninsula.
The city's airport was cut off when a nearby stream burst its banks and flooded the access road.
Further south in Dunedin, where a state of emergency had also been declared, welfare centres were opened as overflowing sewers worsened the flooding situation.
Weeks later, many of those hardest-hit places were knocked again by ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita; near Motueka, it brought down nearly double that month's average rainfall in a mere 14 hours.
$41.5m: Whanganui's worst flood
When a monster storm slammed into the lower North Island, over June 18-21, 2015, slips, flooding and road closures were reported almost everywhere from Kapiti to Whanganui.
On June 20, more than 100 homes in Whanganui had to be evacuated; hours later, at around midnight, the river breached its banks and spilled into the city centre.
By the next day, Whanganui was cut off by road, and outages disrupted nearly half of its 24 pump stations.
A state of emergency was also declared in Rangitikei and Taranaki after heavy rainfall and flooding in those regions
In the South Taranaki township of Waitotara, 60 homes were evacuated, as well as four families from Waitotara Valley, and the army was called in to rescue stranded residents in remote of Koitiata.
At the height of the storm, on June 19, a whopping 454mm of rain was recorded at North Egmont – and gale force winds knocked over the back section of a truck trailer near Pahiatua.
$39.3m: Gusts in the capital, snow in the south
On the night of June 20, 2013, fire crews were called at more than 900 times as a major storm thumped Wellington, felling trees and smashing windows.
The airport was closed to all flights during the worst of the storm, with train, harbour ferry and interisland ferry services cancelled.
The Interislander ferry Kaitaki broke off its moorings and had to be anchored in Wellington Harbour for the night, with 50 staff on board.
A gust of 202km/h was recorded at Wellington's Mt Kaukau, and swells were up to 15m in Cook Strait.
On the south coast of Wellington, large waves damaged houses, roads, and sea walls.
Meanwhile, in the South Island, snow dumped down on Tekapo, Naseby, Clarks Junction and the Hakataramea Valley, where unofficial snow depths of 60cm or more were reported.
Elsewhere, unofficial snow depths of 30cm or more were reported in areas of northern Southland, eastern Central Otago, and throughout the foothills and high country of Canterbury.
The snowfall proved especially challenging for farmers – and in some cases, they battled to clear the snow to get much-needed feed to their livestock.
By the end of the storm, most skifields in the South Island had received more than a metre of new snow; at Mt Hutt, there was enough to total 2.8m.
In all, the claims from homes and businesses after the big storms of the decade amounted to about $1.1 billion, figures from the Insurance Council of New Zealand show.
A breakdown showed some weather years were much more costly than others: 2017, 2018, 2013, and 2015 came with claims totaling $242.6m, $226.3m, $175.3m and $171.6m respectively.
But the Insurance Council has warned climate change – bringing more intense and frequent extreme weather, along with sea level rise – could see the cost rise significantly.
Recent modelling shows about 72,000 New Zealanders are already exposed to extreme coastal flooding, along with about 50,000 buildings worth $12.5 billion.
This risk increases markedly with sea level rise, particularly during the first metre of rise we can expect this century.
There is near certainty the sea will rise 20cm to 30cm by 2040 and, by the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions were reduced, it could rise by between 50cm and 1.1m.
That's an extra 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding.
On top of that, some 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135b would be exposed to river flooding that could come amid extreme weather.
In our largest city, more than 43,000 Aucklanders are directly threatened by rising seas - up from 34,700 people in 2001.
The insurance industry has also warned of increasing levels of excess for vulnerable properties over time - if insurers opt to take on the risks at all.
The Government has responded, partly, by setting up a new national risk assessment system.
Decade's weather extremes
Hottest temperature, recorded at Timaru on February 7, 2011
Coldest temperature, recorded at Tara Hills, Otago, on June 24, 2015
Biggest one-day rainfall, at North Egmont on 19 June, 2015
Highest wind gust, recorded at Baring Head, Wellington, on March 12, 2010