A tornado-like waterspout ripped through central Auckland's waterfront overnight, toppling at least one shipping container and wreaking havoc on yachts, ships and cars.
Vehicles were swept into the ocean and a yacht was struck by lightning as the storm left a trail of destruction.
A shipping container toppled on to a car at Jellicoe Wharf near Tinley St, trapping the driver. They were tended to by emergency services and taken to hospital in a moderate condition.
Several yachts at Westhaven Marina lost their moorings and a catamaran was overturned in the turmoil.
Coastguard duty officer Hemi Manaena said the winds had caused "significant damage" to a large number of recreational vessels at Westhaven.
The Sealink Ferry also lost its mooring at Wynyard Quarter and needed to be retrieved.
"We'd like to reiterate that there's a large amount of debris in the harbour," said Manaena.
"Mariners should remain vigilant when navigating the area, especially around the Princes/ Hobson Wharf area - a shipping container has fallen into the water there."
There were reports of other containers floating in the harbour and a car had also gone into the water near the entrance to the Viaduct. Other cars were being retrieved by a tow truck.
Sheet lightning repeatedly lit up the Auckland sky, accompanied by claps of thunder, torrential rain and high winds.
Henderson resident Andy Robinson in West Auckland said his property was pelted by large hailstones.
Hail the size of golf balls pelted a West Auckland man's house tonight. Photo / Supplied
"The windows were ricocheting so hard it was like rocks being thrown. I can't see any broken panes [amazed] but cracks can form a day or so later.
"A lot larger than pea-sized, the largest were approximately golf ball sized. Certainly the largest hailstones I can remember seeing."
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.