NEW ZEALAND TORNADO DEATHS:
* In May 2011, One person was killed when the Portacom building he was in was hurled into a car park in a tornado at Albany. Winds of up to 200km/h wrecked houses and cars and also injured dozens of people
* In August 2004, two people were killed when their Waitara house was destroyed when a tornado swept across Taranaki
* New Zealand's worst tornado to date struck Hamilton in 1948, killing three people, injuring 80 and wrecking nearly 150 houses
* NIWA says tornadoes are relatively rare events in New Zealand. On average around seven moderate to strong tornado events reported each year.
* New Zealand tornadoes are usually around a few tens of metres wide and have tracks of just a couple of kilometres and last just a few minutes.
* However, New Zealand tornadoes are neither as common nor as destructive as those in the United States, where in 1974 more than 300 people were killed.
Source: Te Ara and NIWA.