Weather: Tornado rips through Taranaki town of Waitara, causing minor damage

A tornado has ripped through the Taranaki town of Waitara on Monday afternoon, causing minor damage to buildings and sending trampolines flying. 

Civil Defence says Fire and Emergency New Zealand crews are in the area and people should call 111 if they need assistance.

"There has been some minor damage to buildings and a few trampolines flying around," Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management said in a statement.

Residents in Waitara shared videos and photos on social media of the tornado swirling.

"I was glad to see it go down the river and not come our way," wrote one woman who shared footage of the twister in a Waitara Facebook group.

The weather event comes after MetService earlier warned of unsettled conditions kicking off in New Zealand on Monday.

"Fire and Emergency NZ say there have been no further reports of damage about the Waitara tornado at this stage," Civil Defence said in an update just after 2pm.

"The initial reports were of slight damage to commercial property on West Quay in Waitara and this is being managed on site."

Brook Prentice, from local business McFarlane Motors, told the NZ Herald parts of roof from a neighbouring business had flown off and landed on their building.

"It was a bit chaotic and pretty intense," he told the Herald.

WeatherWatch says severe weather and a windy, wet change is set to further press New Zealand over the next two days.