Beachgoers warned to stay away as huge swells pummel coast

People are being advised to stay out of the water and off one of New Zealand’s most famous beaches as huge swells pummel the coast.

The Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service said in a Facebook post the swell was the biggest of the year so far.

“We are advising people to stay out of the water and not venture onto the beach.”

“The base track of Mauao and access to Moturiki (Leisure) Island have both been closed, with high tide still to peak.

“This swell will stick around for a couple of days yet, so please be careful.”

Elsewhere, video shows children riding the tidal swells at an inlet at Waihi Beach. The swells at one point flood the inlet, pushing over its banks.

Another image shows a police officer speaking to the children at the inlet.

MetService warned of huge swells on the east coast of the North Island

“Thewave buoy at Marsden Point has seen average wave heights of 5-7m, largest up to 10m earlier,” MetService tweeted.

Much of the East Cape is in line for heavy rain, while strong winds are expected in Auckland, Northland and eastern parts of the upper North Island, Metservice has warned.

We've got a significant swell at the beach today; the biggest of the year so far.We are advising people to stay out of…

Strong wind marine warnings were issued at 10.34am on Sunday for the Hauraki Gulf, Waitematā Harbour, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay. And marine gale warnings are in place for the Bay of Islands, Coromandel and Bream Head to Cape Colville.

The “weather bomb” – when a low-pressure system deepens by 24hPa in 24 hours at a latitude of 60 degrees – has already occurred. The resulting deep low sparked a heavy rain warning from MetService for parts of the East Cape north of Gisborne.

Up to 140mm of rain is expected in the 24 hours from 10am today, according to MetService.

A heavy rain watch is also in place for Gisborne and south of the city over the same period, while a strong wind watch has also been issued for the eastern ranges of Bay of Plenty and towards the coast east of Ōpōtiki from 6am today until 3am Tuesday.

The east coast of Northland from Whangaroa to Marsden Point, as well as Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula about and north of Whitianga are also under a strong wind watch until 6pm today.

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