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Cyclone Gita hits New Zealand after hammering Tonga

The wind wand in New Plymouth as the storm hits

Buller, Selwyn District, Grey District, Westland, Taranaki, Nelson Tasman and Christchurch have all declared a state of emergency.

New Zealand's defence force has been deployed as the country endures a battering from the remains of Cyclone Gita.

While most of the South Island is out of the woods when it comes to the wild weather, a heavy rain warning remains in place for Dunedin and North Otago.

Thousands of homes were without power Tuesday, and residents in Christchurch were asked to limit water consumption in light of the heavy rainfall overwhelming the city's wastewater system.

The storm, which has pummeled Tonga and Fiji, is expected to enter New Zealand on Tuesday.

Most reported early Wednesday that the weather had not been as extreme as predicted, with the top of the South Island the worst-hit area.

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"The full impact of the storm will be felt overnight and tomorrow morning", she said, urging residents of low-lying areas to evacuate.

Cyclone Gita is pounding New Zealand with torrential rain, damaging winds and large waves.

'We are expecting homes to be flooded'.

Gita then skirted the south of New Caledonia, but caused no major damage, before curving to the south and running towards the land of the long white cloud.

Cyclone Gita caused extensive damage as it tore through Tonga and Samoa last week, peaking as a top-of-the-scale Category Five super-storm.

Transport authorities shut a stretch of highway along the east coast of the South Island and the Department of Conservation was closing picturesque seaside hiking tracks and campsites along the West Coast and ushering tourists away from low-lying areas, media said.

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