An Auckland man has been left sleeping in his car a fortnight after a tornado destroyed his family's rental property as he waits for help from his insurer.

His daughter says she is lucky to be alive after the tornado ripped through their Auckland home and snapped pine trees like toothpicks.

The destructive force lifted parts of the roof off the Dairy Flat house on June 26 — and heavy rain has been falling on the Tudman family's prized possessions since.

Friends and colleagues have since rallied to help Dan Tudman and his daughter, Eden, 21, who cowered in a bath as the tornado struck, but the duo are still without a place to stay.

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"The last two weeks we've been between three or four places, and I'm living out of my car at the moment," Tudman said.

The family are waiting for full support from insurer AA Insurance - who they have contents cover with - two weeks on from the near-disaster.

Tudman said the insurer paid out an initial $1000 in the days after the storm, but had not provided further payouts towards emergency accommodation.

They had to wait 12 days before the damaged property was visited by an assessor - with Wednesday's inspection only happening after the Herald began asking questions of AA Insurance and a lawyer began advising the family.

Tudman told the Herald last night that he had been told the house's contents would be written off, but he had yet to receive formal confirmation of that.

"And it hasn't been good enough, coming 12 days later," he said.

"It has been pretty poor."

Lawyer Kate Sheehan contacted Tudman offering help and said AA needed to pay up on the rental assistance.

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AA Insurance told the Herald it had been waiting for Tudman to arrange rental accommodation, and it would reimburse the difference if it was more than paid at his previous rental.

It also said a loss adjuster appointed to assess the Tudmans' claim had made a number of attempts to contact him without success. Tudman insisted he had not had any missed calls from an assessor.

"We are concerned to hear that Mr Tudman was unhappy with the way his claim was handled and we would like to work closely with him to resolve any outstanding issues," AA Insurance said in a statement.

The company said its priority was "always the safety and wellbeing of our customers". The insurer also said that within 30 minutes of the initial call from Tudman it had "contacted an emergency loss adjuster who was available to meet our customer at a time that was suitable for him".

A family are happy to simply be alive after a tornado ripped through their home north of Auckland, snapping 50-foot pine trees like toothpicks. Photo / Sylvie Whinray
A family are happy to simply be alive after a tornado ripped through their home north of Auckland, snapping 50-foot pine trees like toothpicks. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Over June 26-27, wild weather battered the Auckland region. Multiple tornadoes struck the city, punching holes in homes, bringing flooding and power cuts, and flinging trampolines skyward.

Businesses in East Tamaki had their storefronts ripped open, while one woman was interrupted during birth when debris smashed the windows of her ambulance.

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The Insurance Council of NZ - the body representing the country's insurers - said it was too early to tally the cost of the storm.

Eden Tudman thought she wasn't going to make it out of the tornado alive as her home's roof was ripped off and debris was tossed about. Photo / Sylvie Whinray
Eden Tudman thought she wasn't going to make it out of the tornado alive as her home's roof was ripped off and debris was tossed about. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

When the storm first struck, Eden was intrigued by the distant thunder and lightning and thought about grabbing her phone to film it.

Instead, the tornado came to her.

As it struck her home, she feared for her life as she sheltered in a bathtub in her Dairy Flat rental while the tornado tore the roof from above her and flung it 600m.

The powerful winds also dragged Eden's Mazda Demio car across the yard and smashed her home's windows, sending glass shards piercing through walls.

Cowering beneath the thundering storm, Eden was in hysterics. She didn't think she was going to make it out alive.

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Eden Tudman had to sell her Mazda Demio at a loss after it was damaged in the tornado. Photo / Sylvie Whinray
Eden Tudman had to sell her Mazda Demio at a loss after it was damaged in the tornado. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Within five minutes, her home's glass doors were "pulsating" while an "indescribably loud" sound rumbled over the house.

Then a heavy steel ladder took flight outside, rocketing 200m away and sending Eden into a panic at the strength of the winds.

"I'll never get that image of the ladder out of my head," she said.

As windows began smashing, Eden covered her head and ran down the hallway with debris pelting her.

"I fully thought I was not going to make it out of there - I didn't know where to turn, where to go," she said.

The Tudman family's furniture and belongings have lain exposed to the elements since the tornado hit almost two weeks ago. Photo / Sylvie Whinray
The Tudman family's furniture and belongings have lain exposed to the elements since the tornado hit almost two weeks ago. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Seeing the bathtub, she flung herself in, and curled into a ball.

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Father Dan had been out when the tornado hit, but soon got a call from his daughter.

"She was screaming," he said.

"I thought there was an intruder in the home because she was incomprehensible."

Finally, he was able to make out that a tornado had ripped through their house.

He rushed home, but had to park at the end of the driveway, navigating past downed power lines, debris and knee-high water before finding and trying to calm his daughter.

Towering pine trees nearby had been "snapped like toothpicks".

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Eden's employer Repco NZ had been "awesome", offering her a cash grant, time off work and loaning her a car.

Eden Tudman at her 21st birthday with dad Dan Tudman and mum Angela Angus. Photo / Supplied
Eden Tudman at her 21st birthday with dad Dan Tudman and mum Angela Angus. Photo / Supplied

They also offered counselling to Eden and her father and even offered to pay the bond on their next rental property.

"They have really looked after her and are a great company to work for," Dan said.

His colleagues at the Maritime School of NZ run by the Manukau Institute of Technology had also offered support and set up a Givealittle page to help the family.

The duo are now on the hunt for a new rental, but hoped to get their $30,000 of contents cover settled so they could refurnish the next home and get on with their lives.

The owners of the Dairy Flat rental on Young Access were also keen to start demolishing the home but were being held up by the wait for AA Insurance's assessor to process Tudman's claim.

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