A mini tornado has lifted roofs and caused other damage in Mangawhai, north of Auckland.

Fire and Emergency are responding to reports of damage, caused by the whirlwind.

Builder Samuel Garratt said he saw at least two roofs being blown off buildings, around 4pm.

"I was on my work site and we were just packing up because the weather had packed it in," he told the Herald.

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A small tornado has lifted rooves and caused other damage in Mangawhai, north of Auckland. Video / Supplied / Facebook

"We just saw this big cloud start funnelling down in the distance and we thought what's that.

"We thought it may have been a fire because it got dark quite quickly. Then it started swirling around and we thought maybe some birds had got sucked into it.

"Next thing we know we saw roofing iron get pulled up and flying around in the sky.

This is the frightening moment a tornado ripped through Mangawhai Heads, taking rooves off buildings. Photo / Sam Garratt
This is the frightening moment a tornado ripped through Mangawhai Heads, taking rooves off buildings. Photo / Sam Garratt

"It was crazy. It started thundering down. It was insane. It formed pretty quickly. It would have taken about 15 seconds to form into a full-blown tornado. It moved about a kilometre before it eventually dissipated.

"It was spinning quite frantically. We were lucky I didn't come anywhere near us. We were pretty worried.

"When we saw the roof coming off the other place we hoped everyone was OK. It's pretty scary stuff."

Tornado rips through Mangawhai Heads. Photo / The Fishermans Shed
Tornado rips through Mangawhai Heads. Photo / The Fishermans Shed

Locals reported street signs had also been ripped out and thrown in the air.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) say are in attendance at a property on Cove Rd, where a roof has lifted on a residential dwelling.

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