29 Aug 2010

Hailstones hit kiwifruit but no major damage reported

4:01 pm on 29 August 2010

Kiwifruit growers in Bay of Plenty appear to have escaped major damage from hailstones up to 15 millimetres wide.

MetService says a storm peppered the area around Tauranga with sizeable quantities of hail shortly after midday.

The biggest stones were just five millimetres short of being classed as severe by the weather forecaster.

A spokesperson says it was likely the first big thunderstorm heading into spring.

The president of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers, Peter Ombler, says that the hail fell over a wide area but that he has not yet had any reports of serious damage.

Mr Ombler says it looked like it had been snowing in parts of his hail-hit orchard in Te Puke.