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Source: Auckland Council

Update: 11.15am, Sunday 20 June 2021

Auckland Emergency Management, together with emergency response agencies and teams from Auckland Council, will today continue to support people affected by yesterday’s tornado in Papatoetoe and focus on clean-up efforts.

Auckland Emergency Management duty controller Parul Sood says response needs overnight were light but teams will continue to provide welfare support today.

“Today’s focus is on continuing to assess damage in the area, coordinating a building inspection programme and dealing with waste and debris,” she says.

The Civil Defence Welfare Centre at Ōtara Pool and Leisure Centre (Bairds Road entrance) has been open since 2pm on Saturday and remains available for people affected by the tornado who need help or assistance. So far, the centre has provided two families with temporary accommodation.

A further information hub is being set up at the Allan Brewster Leisure Centre, 7 Tavern Lane, Papatoetoe. Visitors to the hub will be able to speak to representatives from Auckland Emergency Management, Red Cross, the Ministry of Social Development and the Insurance Council for financial assistance advice and insurance information.

Clean-up efforts in the Papatoetoe area continue today with council contractors cleaning up trees and debris, and arranging further waste collection.

A team of Auckland Council building inspectors will shortly begin inspecting affected properties to understand the extent of the damage and ensure unsafe buildings are checked and secure.

The team will look at the most affected properties first, based on the Urban Search and Rescue assessments carried out yesterday.

Auckland Council GM Building Consents Ian McCormick says the team’s priority is safety.

“Our inspectors will be assessing buildings to give owners and residents an understanding of whether their buildings are safe to remain in and giving advice on next steps.”

Fire and Emergency will be maintaining a presence around the affected areas in Papatoetoe today to help anyone that needs it. It was relatively quiet for firefighters overnight. Urban Search and Rescue teams will continue to conduct Rapid Disaster Assessments to assess the damage to property throughout the day. If anyone needs help or is in danger, please call 111.

Update: 8pm, Saturday 19 June

Auckland Emergency Management is supporting the south Auckland communities today following this morning’s weather event. We estimate more than 1200 homes are affected in Papatoetoe and the surrounding area, with the majority without power and around 60 uninhabitable.

Auckland Emergency Management Controller Parul Sood says emergency services have spent the day visiting as many properties as possible.

“Those whose homes have been significantly affected appear to be staying with friends and whanau and a small number have been in touch through the Civil Defence Welfare Centre.

“Tonight, we know that lots of people have chosen to stay in their homes and we’re appealing to those who may have damage to their properties to ensure they have an evacuation plan, especially if bad weather forecast for overnight causes any further issues,” she says.

Civil Defence Welfare Centre available

People affected by the major weather incident in Papatoetoe can go to the Civil Defence Welfare Centre at Otara Pool and Leisure Centre (Bairds Road entrance, Otara).

The centre provides support to those affected by this morning’s incident who are unable to stay with friends and family or have health or welfare needs.

Ms Sood says Auckland Emergency Management had a small number of requests for accommodation assistance (by early evening) and is are heartened that people are leaning on friends and whānau for a place to stay.

The centre will be open to provide support overnight, and those that can’t get to the centre but need assistance can contact Auckland Emergency Management on 0800 22 22 00 in the first instance.

If possible, people should bring medications and essential items, like identification documents, baby needs and warm clothing with them.

The centre has also received numerous offers of donations. While we thank the community for its generosity, no supplies are needed and we encourage these to be donated to local food bank services.

Weather forecast tonight – put a plan in place

We are expecting more heavy rain overnight, so if your house was damaged earlier today, make sure you have a plan in place and somewhere to stay if you need to evacuate.

You can contact Auckland Emergency Management on 0800 22 22 00 if you need assistance.

Staying safe at home

Fire and Emergency NZ Area Commander Geoff Purcell says firefighters and urban search and rescue teams have spent the day visiting the most affected areas and carrying out damage assessments.

“For those staying at home tonight, we recommend not using candles or if you have to use them, place in a holder and keep well clear of anything that can burn – we don’t want any other emergency situations,” he says.

Mr Purcell also reminds people that gas heaters should not be used in small spaces.

Fire and Emergency NZ will maintain a roving presence overnight in the Papatoetoe streets affected by today’s tornado. They will be able to respond to any incidents that may occur due to the wind and rain forecast for the area overnight.

Clean up efforts

Auckland Emergency Management and Auckland Council are working together on clean-up efforts, including waste removal, street trees and putting together a response plan for building inspections. More information about these efforts will be available on Sunday.

Important advice for staying safe during power outages

Heating, lighting and cooking

DON’T be tempted to use unsafe ways to heat your home. Only use fireplaces that have been safety checked, follow the manufacturer’s advice when using gas heaters, NEVER use outdoor gas heaters inside or try to use your BBQ for heating.

DO boil water on your camp stove or BBQ for hot water bottles, wear extra layers of clothing and use extra blankets, close internal doors and curtains to retain heat. Use camp stoves in well-ventilated places and make sure food is cooked thoroughly before eating. Take care with candles or use battery-powered lanterns or torches instead, to prevent fire risk. If using a generator ensure you have enough fuel to keep it going.

Animal welfare

Pets are just as likely to become unwell by consuming unsafe food. If you are disposing of food due to power outages and if it is not safe for you to eat, it is not safe for your pets to eat.

Staying up to date and in touch

Listen to the radio for up to date news and advice. If you don’t have a battery operated radio, perhaps listen in your car. Conserve phone battery; limit mobile calls and data use (which drains your battery).

Make use of local community facilities

Drop into your local library or community hub to charge your phone. Libraries also have free internet and a warm place to sit.


Many insurers provide cover for food spoilage as a result of a power outage. They may also cover the cost of temporary accommodation if you can’t stay at home and claim support if your home or property has been damaged during the storm.

Check your policy, phone your insurer and take photographs of the items you’re claiming for – even your spoiled food!

Food safety and illness prevention

Take care with food from your fridge and freezer to avoid food poisoning and manage spoilage issues. After more than two days without power, highly perishable foods may not be safe to eat.

  • Throw out rotten or contaminated food quickly so it doesn’t spoil other food in the fridge.
  • You can still eat food like raw vegetables, cheese and bread.
  • Dispose of any food from the freezer which has thawed out and been at room temperature for longer than two hours.
  • When the power comes back on, it is important not to refreeze food that has defrosted.
  • If the frozen food has ice crystals and the packaging is intact then it can be refrozen.
  • If you are unsure, have a closer look and smell. If the colour has changed, it has a slimy texture or if it smells off, it probably is off.
  • If you eat food that has gone off, you can risk infection from salmonella, campylobacter and a range of food poisoning bacteria.

Update: 2pm, Saturday 19 June

People affected by a major weather incident in Papatoetoe this morning can go to the Civil Defence Welfare Centre at Otara Pool and Leisure Centre (Bairds Road entrance, Otara) from 2pm.

The centre will provide support to those affected by this morning’s incident who are unable to stay with friends and family or have health or welfare needs.

Auckland Emergency Management duty controller Parul Sood says the centre will offer needs assessments and connect people to support agencies.

“If your home or property was affected this morning, the welfare centre can offer a range of support.

“In some cases, accommodation can be provided, however we urge people to reach out to friends and whānau for assistance first,” she says.

If possible, people should bring medications and essential items, like identification documents, baby needs and warm clothing with them.

Pets, particularly dogs, should be taken care of by friends or whānau where possible, but can be brought to the welfare centre if there is no alternative.

People who need assistance but are unable to get to the centre can call Auckland Emergency Management on 0800 22 22 00.

This morning’s incident was a significant weather event where high winds severely damaged more than 50 properties, particularly in the Papatoetoe and Wiri areas.

Utilities, including power and water, have been affected and providers are working to fix these as soon as possible.