By Beck Vass and Carly Udy
Tauranga Bridge Marina will have to spend "hundreds of thousands of dollars" repairing major structural damage to piers damaged yesterday.
Insurance assessors were this morning evaluating the situation after heavy rain and high winds struck in conjunction with an incoming tide yesterday.
Bridge Marina manager Tony Arnold said it was the worst northerly storm in the decade since it was built.
It was too early to put a dollar value on the damage but he estimated that he would be discussing "hundreds of thousands" of dollars of damage with assessors.
"There's quite a bit of structural stuff to fix.
"All the factors were there. It was wind against tide with a big northerly behind it and there was a huge lift, big waves - between one and two metres."
The specialist Auckland company that would do the repairs was building a new marina in Auckland so it could be a long time before the damage was repaired, he said. However, boats would be moved to other places in the meantime.
The storm had raised concerns over how well boaties were securing their boats.
Rescuers rallied, running along swaying piers to secure boats which had snapped their moorings, broken bollards and were threatening to get away.
Tauranga Boat Sales owner Ian Michel ran out of rope as he and other volunteers secured more than 40 boats which became loose in the high winds.
"There's a lesson for it in the owners in that they've got to use proper mooring lines. They're tying up three or five tonne boats with not more than pieces of string."
He was grateful to passersby who stopped to help.
"It's been quite amazing. Some of the owners were a bit slow to arrive but people that were driving past heard about it on the radio and stopped to help."
Elsewhere around the Western Bay, a tree snapped, landing on top of two cars in Cherrywood as winds picked up about 9.30am.
Along Papamoa Beach Rd, a verandah was lifted and thrown behind a home, Station Officer Lindsay Nicol of the Mount Maunganui Fire Brigade said.
He said it was the busiest day for fire callouts he had seen since the May 18 floods last year.
Further along Papamoa Beach Rd, traffic was diverted to avoid power lines which began burning after clashing at 11.20am.
Rubbish bags, recycling bins and wheelie bins were strewn across some streets as winds knocked them over.
Power was cut to areas across the region, including Omokoroa, Te Puna and Welcome Bay as trees fell on high voltage lines.
Powerco network operations manager Ross Dixon said all faults in Tauranga had been restored overnight, however, there were some isolated areas on the network without supply - it was expected repairs would be carried out today.
Pukehina Fire Chief Errol Watts was judging damage on his own farm yesterday, in between attending callouts.
"One of my hay barns is totally demolished on the farm and one of the others is missing three or four sheets of iron."
Mr Watts said his brigade had attended two callouts yesterday, both along Pukehina Parade.
The first was to tie down and secure a lifting roof and the second to a glass door that had blown in.
Tauranga Airport was closed for about four hours from 7am, disrupting several flights.
Sunair manager Dan Power said one Sunair flight from Gisborne landed but had to use the grass runway due to the high cross winds.
The Maketu fire crew attended 10 calls yesterday. Damage included roofs partially blown off, trees on roads, power lines down - one of which sparked a small fire, ranch sliders that had smashed and pergolas blown away.
Papamoa Fire Chief Allan Bicker said the brigade had attended a couple of callouts to older baches where roofs had lifted.
"A nice 70-year-old lady - she's 70 today - lost her little metal garden shed. It just collapsed."
In Te Puke, an old pine tree collapsed on to Rocky Cutting Rd, halting traffic shortly before 10am, deputy fire chief Glenn Williams said. An appliance from Te Puke and Greerton attended, aided by Transit, clearing the debris.
Anne Michel, customer care manager for Inroads, the company contracted to Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Transit, said she was getting calls as late as 7pm to clear trees.
"There was a lot of trees down ... we also had one lot of surface flooding," she said.
Grant Schuler, from Arbour Care Limited, said he had attended about 30 callouts of fallen trees.
Port of Tauranga operations manager Nigel Drake said the container cranes weren't working yesterday, meaning there were some delays at Sulphur Point. There were no ships due to sail or due to come in.
Wind gusts taken at the port yesterday around lunchtime were about 30 knots from the north, he said. "We've had a maximum gust through the morning of just over 50."
Katikati Fire Brigade attended one callout to storm-related electrical fault. Waihi Beach attended three callouts, one to secure a relocatable building.