Auckland tornado

PHOTO: Photo credit: Phil Goff / Facebook

A massive clean-up effort is continuing on Sunday after an apparent tornado struck south Auckland on Saturday.

Hundreds of homes were damaged in Papatoetoe, and one person lost their life after they were picked up and thrown into a solid object by the strong winds while working in a container yard in Wiri.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said about 240 houses were damaged in the weather event, including 60 that are inhabitable.

“Given the damage, we are however fortunate that the injuries and loss of life were not greater,” Goff wrote on Facebook.

“Really impressed with the resilience of those affected and the community spirit of helping each other.”

Manukau Ward Councillor Efeso Collins told Newshub there was an area of about seven streets where there was “quite severe damage”, and the experience had left many residents shaken.

“There were people who were telling me stories of their children who were cowering under their arms and in their bosoms. One child, in particular, a dad mentioned he asked ‘are we going to die?'” Collins said.

He said it will take weeks for things to return to normal.