Torrential rains have caused widespread flooding, and evacuations, forcing authorities in New Zealand’s biggest city of Auckland to declare a state of emergency on Friday.
The Elton John concert that was due to go ahead on Friday night was cancelled just minutes before the show was due to start.
The deluge led to the city’s airports being closed, with both international and domestic airports affected.
Auckland’s Mayor Wayne Brown said the declaration was necessary because of the extent of the “damage, displacement and disruption” caused by the weather.
Response agencies needed to draw on more powers and resources to tackle the disaster.
Auckland Emergency Management said in a post on Twitter that northern, north-western and western parts of the city were affected by significant flooding, with conditions expected to worsen.
Flights into Auckland have been delayed or cancelled due to the wild weather, with Auckland Airport terminals flooded.
Social media vision showed firefighters, police and defence force staff rescuing stranded people from homes using ropes and rescue boats.
Major roads were blocked, causing long traffic queues.
Police were working with Fire and Emergency to respond to calls and asked people to stay off the roads.
British musician Elton John’s concert in the city, which was expected to by attended by about 40,000 people, was cancelled.
“Given the weather, tonight’s show has been cancelled. Our operations team is working to redirect special event buses to help get people back home,” Auckland Transport said in a statement on Twitter.
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