A group of US tourists captured incredible video of the tornado that ripped through a field north of Ashburton on Sunday.
The recent footage surfaced on Reddit, showing the tourists driving straight towards the tornado.
The driver can be heard asking whether she should turn the car around to avoid it.
"Yeah just whip it around, we'll just whip around," replies a passenger, as the tornado can be seen clearly in their path. The car then pulls over.
The tourist, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Newshub they were travelling south of Chertsey when they came across the powerful funnel of wind.
"We were quite nervous as we are from the [United] States and have seen how destructive tornados can be," she said. "We never thought we would see a tornado in New Zealand.
"We were very surprised how short-lived it was. The weather out here sure is an adventure."
A MetService spokesperson told Newshub that "whenever there's a thunderstorm, there's a risk of a tornado forming".
"Tornadoes can blow out windows, lift roofs, break large branches off trees, generate dangerous flying debris and blow vehicles off the road."