Hastings residents saw eerily tall, silent whirlwinds of dust stretching high into the blue skies on Tuesday.
Timber machinist Chris Sparks was driving back to work when he saw two dust devils swirling 30m apart, just after 1pm.
"I happened to look to my right and saw a big dust cloud," he said.
He thought construction workers might've disturbed dust in the area, but couldn't see anybody.
But when he saw one of the devils looming as high as 100m, towering above the Timu Timbers buildings where he worked, he knew what it was.
"It was really thin, skinny and tall. It looked like dust drifting.
A second, shorter devil swirled behind the first, Sparkes said.
"I thought it was pretty cool, I haven't seen a dust devil since I was 4 or 5."
Another long devil was spotted swirling behind a Hastings home by a resident.
MetService meteorologist Cam Coutts said it was a mini tornado, caused by a lot of heating localised winds that form a circulation, picking up dust and debris from the ground.
"I've not seen one quite as good as that, that's quite a spectacular little one."
The dry conditions and baking heat - close to 30C on Tuesday - meant more dust could be lifted off the ground and swirl through the air.
But dust devils don't linger for long, Coutts said.
"They can be quite quick, probably lasting only a few minutes.
"It uses up its energy and fades away, the dust dissipates."
Sparkes said the formations he spied disappeared only moments later.
"They were disappearing just as I got out of the car."
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