Emergency services respond to tornado in south Auckland

One person has died and another has moderate injuries after a suspected tornado hit south Auckland on Saturday morning.

Ports of Auckland confirmed the death happened at its south Auckland freight hub in Wiri.

"One person working on site has been killed," a spokesperson from Ports of Auckland said in a statement.

"These people are not Ports of Auckland staff or staff from the Ports of Auckland subsidiary Conlinxx, which operates the freight hub.

"The tornado caused significant damage to the site and dislodged multiple containers.

"We are shocked by this freak event and our thoughts are with the people affected."

Police said they were attending a workplace incident in Wiri.

A spokesperson for St John Ambulance said one person was taken to hospital with moderate injuries.

Emergency services respond to tornado in south Auckland
Photo credit: Joanna King

The tornado caused significant damage in south Auckland, with photos from the scene showing fences knocked over, tiles blown off roofs, trees uprooted and powerlines down.

Kathleen Waller, who lives on Puhinui Rd, said the tornado lasted around 30 seconds "but felt longer".

"All of a sudden the lights went off and there was a horrific, horrific noise," she told Newshub.

"A lot of the windows in our house broke, you could hear things banging against things.

"Our neighbourhood looks like a warzone," she said.

"There's fences everywhere, our windows and our cars are broken, there's no power - there's a lot going on."

Emergency services respond to tornado in south Auckland
Photo credit: Joanna King
Emergency services respond to tornado in south Auckland
Photo credit: Joanna King

Another local resident, Joanna King, told Newshub the tornado "left its little path of destruction" where she lives on Glen Avenue.

"It was over in moments then I went outside to have a look and our street is just a mess.

"We've got a huge tree down in our front yard, it thankfully missed the car...and across the road another really large tree has been uprooted," she said.

"We've got trampolines on rooftops, fences down...tiles off roofs."

Emergency services respond to tornado in south Auckland
Photo credit: Bob McCoskrie

Fire and Emergency said it received "around 90 calls relating to damage to property".

"Fire crews are continuing to assess the damage around Papatoetoe. More than 20 crews from across Auckland are assisting and a command unit is on scene," a spokesperson said.

"We are working closely with Auckland Emergency Management on any welfare needs."

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corrigan said although it was difficult to confirm the damage was caused by a tornado, that was the most likely cause based on "convincing" footage he had seen.

"The ingredients were there that are conducive to tornado formation, so it's highly likely that an actual tornado was observed," he told Newshub.

He said the wild weather was caused from a rain band moving south over the North Island, which was also set to bring heavy rain to eastern parts of the North Island throughout the day.

Although Auckland was forecast to be mostly dry for the rest of the day more rain is expected later on Saturday evening, Corrigan said.

Fire and Emergency is urging residents affected by the tornado to keep away from any power lines that are down, take care around broken glass and check their neighbours are safe.