Mt Maunganui residents shocked after tornado strikes

  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Residents in Mt Maunganui living near the ASB Papamoa Stadium have described hearing screeching noises as sections of the stadium were ripped away by a tornado last night.

The tornado hit the area last night during severe weather and caused major damage to the stadium and local intermediate school.

One resident says,” I just heard this out of it noise like lots of heavy iron flying around, I don’t know how to describe it really but it was only for about 30 seconds.“

Another local who lives directly across the road from Baypark says a lot of houses are damaged in the area and when the tornado hit, “I could hear crunching sounds and it sounded like thunder.”

Mt Maunganui Intermediate has been closed today as a result of the damage it sustained.

School Principal, Lisa Morrisey posted a message on the school website last night announcing the closure of the school today.

“The school grounds have sustained considerable damage.  As there are health and safety hazards, the school will be closed on Friday 15th May. Ministry personnel will be in tomorrow morning to make an assessment and we will inform you of any further developments.”

Civil Defence says the tornado originated around the Golf Road area then tracked south towards Bayfair which left major damage in its wake.

According to the Tauranga City Council, parks and transportation teams are still cleaning up the debris from last night’s tornado.

All roads area clear of debris and open; contractors are now revisiting sites for further assessment and clean up.

Council staff have been providing assistance to private properties including assisting with structural building inspections and advice.

Residents are being advised to make contact with their insurance companies as soon as possible if their properties have been damaged.

The Council says the community has responded well to the natural disaster. On the ground it is clear to see that the neighbourhood support network is well and strong.