Nelson begins to count the huge cost of Storm Fehi repairs

There are warnings the stormy weather that's been lashing the country is going to become the new norm.

It comes as the South Island mops up after being battered by the remains of Cyclone Fehi.

The Nelson-Tasman coastline is littered with debris.

Local Ginny Higgins has spent decades walking the local beaches, and has been left shaken.

"I was devastated," she says.

"I cannot believe just how much of the cycle trail has gone, as well as the shore frontage. It's completely annihilated. It's gutting actually, to be honest."

Now Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne is warning because of climate change we will have to get used to it.

"This is quite unusual for us. At this time it is usually drier. So I think the big switches, that's our new norm."

Photographer and environmentalist Jose Cano says he's been struck by the latest storm events. He's now produced a series of photographs that show what Nelson could look like in just less than 100 years.

He says we need to start having a tough conversation:

"We have to get ready, and what now is a 100-year event will become a yearly event or less."

Mr Cano says we have to realise this is quickly becoming the new normal.

"This is the most important issue that will affect New Zealand and economically will have an enormous impact, because we will have to change a lot of our infrastructure, so they need to have a serious, a mature conversation."

Councils in Nelson-Tasman are already repairing the damage done this week, although there's no idea yet how much it will cost.