A Kerikeri family have had a tree crash through the middle of their lounge while watching a film on Sunday afternoon.
Cyclone Gabrielle has arrived in Aotearoa, hitting Northland on Sunday, bringing destructive winds and torrential rain.
Monique Edwards was in Auckland with her sisters on Sunday morning, after travelling down for Ed Sheeran’s Eden Park concert.
“As I was driving back up, I was ringing my husband and saying – what about that gumtree? Is the gumtree OK?” Edwards said.
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Edwards arrived home to Kerikeri and was watching a film with her three sons, aged 11, 10 and 6, when they heard “the most fearful crack and a thud”.
“The whole tree lifted out of the ground and came down on the roof, it didn’t snap or anything, it was the whole tree,” Edwards said.
The impact of the tree caused plasterboard to fall off the roof, “twisting” the structural beams of the roof and jamming their front door shut.
“My kids were really, really traumatised. My youngest boy kept asking if we were going to die,” Edwards said.
Edwards’ 10-year-old son was hit in the head by falling gib board when the tree fell but escaped injury.
Once Edwards and her family had gathered themselves, they called the fire brigade, who told them it was too unsafe to assess the damage at this time – and because they were not hurt, they would not be coming.
“We weren’t physically hurt, but mentally and emotionally we were shattered,” she said.
Edwards said the home, which they have lived in for 12 years, was still at risk of other gumtrees falling, but hoped “the fallen gumtree would protect the house from more damage”.
The family was fortunate in that the gumtree hit their new extension, so they could live in the older part of the home while the roof was being fixed.
“Apart from the lounge and water damage in the dining room we are ok,” she said.
“Our builder said it’s going to be a long process.”
When Edwards talked to Stuff on Monday afternoon, she said the wind was still “really blustery” between moments of calm.
Cyclone Gabrielle is making its way down the North Island, with Auckland in the firing line on Monday evening.
MetService told reporters at the 2pm Auckland Emergency Management press conference that although the strong winds had eased slightly, there was still significant rain forecast.
MetService Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said rain had made the ground soggy again, however no major flooding has happened yet.
“We do not expect everyone to see the heavier rain rates, however those who do will see localised impacts such as slips and floods,” Griffiths said.
For everybody, the wind is expected to return from the southwest overnight and tomorrow.
A storm surge is still likely for eastern Auckland around 2am on Tuesday, however effects will be less than previously expected, Griffiths said.