For generations a Norfolk pine has towered over an Ōkaihau family's farm.

In a fraction of a second lightning reduced the 30-metre tree to little more than a pile of kindling.

The power of the strike also scattered fragments of tree over a radius of almost 100m, blew out two panes of glass in Melda Alexander's bedroom windows, and left so much debris on her drive she was stuck at home for a day afterwards.

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Melda went to bed early on Wednesday so wasn't sure what time it was when she was woken by a ''dreadful'' storm.

''The clap of thunder was so loud the whole house vibrated. I got such a fright I jumped right out of bed. It was the loudest thunderclap I've ever heard, it was a shocker.''

Melda Alexander and grandson Grayson with what's left of a once towering Norfolk pine. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Melda Alexander and grandson Grayson with what's left of a once towering Norfolk pine. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Melda went to find her terrified dog, Honey, and wondered why it was so windy inside until she realised two window panes had been blown out.

It was only when daylight came that she saw the Norfolk pine had been obliterated.

''It's just incredible to me, the way these big pieces of wood have been scattered.''

One chunk of tree landed on her deck about 50m away. The rest is strewn across paddocks on the Sturge Rd farm, on flattened fences and across her driveway.

The lightning strike left so much debris on Melda Alexander's driveway she couldn't leave home for a day afterwards. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The lightning strike left so much debris on Melda Alexander's driveway she couldn't leave home for a day afterwards. Photo / Peter de Graaf

''It's going to take us a while to clean up,'' she said.

Flying debris had also taken out her phone line so she was wondering how to notify her insurance company.

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Melda wasn't sure how old the tree was but believed it had been planted by her husband's father or, more likely, his grandfather.

Ardyn, 14, and Grayson Alexander, 21, with what's left of the Norfolk pine that used to tower over their grandmother's farm. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Ardyn, 14, and Grayson Alexander, 21, with what's left of the Norfolk pine that used to tower over their grandmother's farm. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Son David Alexander, who lives in the valley, came up for a look when he heard the tree had been blown over.

''But it hasn't been blown down. It's exploded. The debris field stretches well over 100 metres.''

It was fortunate no cattle had been left in the paddock overnight, he said.