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WELLINGTON, July 21 — High winds and multi-storey waves battered New Zealand’s east coast Thursday, forcing airports and seaports to halt operations and ripping the roof off at least one building.

Winds of 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour forced all flights in and out of Wellington Airport to be cancelled, as conditions made it unsafe for baggage handlers to operate.

Ferry sailings between the north and south islands were suspended as New Zealand’s MetService recorded an enormous 10-metre (32 feet) wave in Wellington harbour.

The wild weather ripped up roads, caused flooding and power cuts, and high winds took the roof off a cafe in Lower Hutt.

About 3,000 residents were stranded in Wellington’s coastal suburb of Eastbourne due to waterlogged roads.

A badly damaged catamaran was seen floating in nearby Lowry Bay. — AFP

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