Photo / Bay of Plenty Times
A state of emergency has been declared in the New Plymouth district after a series of tornadoes ripped through the region, leaving thousands without power and homes severely damaged.
Police said about seven tornadoes hit the region in Oakura, Egmont Village, Inglewood and the Waitara area during an electrical storm about 5.30pm.
Taranaki Civil Defence said up to 50 houses were damaged in Oakura, where a tornado went straight through the town. Some were up to 80 per cent damaged and many were uninhabitable.
"It is total carnage," said mother of two Pip Johnson, 37, who lives 5km from Oakura.