Auckland tornado ‘air mail’: Papatoetoe mail found on Karaka property

Auckland’s tornado not only left hundreds of properties devastated it also made a few unwanted deliveries.

Frank van der Velden ended up with air mail of a different kind after finding a Papatoetoe resident’s ACC letter on his Karaka near 5ha property – about 10km away, as the crow flies.

Van der Velden said only his daughters were home at the time the tornado tore through Auckland, which left hundreds homeless and tragically took the life of contractor Janesh Prasad who was working at Ports of Auckland’s shipping container yard.

It lasted for roughly 30 seconds but has caused likely millions of dollars of damage as roofs were torn off, trees uprooted, windows smashed, vehicles flipped and people fearing for their lives.

Van der Velden said it was only after returning home yesterday and when out feeding some animals he spotted building batts, or pink insulation, strewn all through a hedge.

“I thought ‘where the hell has all this come from? … there was building insulation paper all over the place.”

He’d since gone round to pick up as much of it as possible – to avoid it being eaten by the animals.

They’ve since found other building materials along with general household rubbish, and this afternoon he saw what he thought looked like plastic.

But it was someone’s mail – all the way from Fairview Rd in Papatoetoe.

“I thought ‘s***, what’s that’. I thought it was a piece of plastic, and then ‘oh my God, it’s a letter’. It’s wet, obviously, and a bit tattered and I haven’t opened it or anything like that.

“It’s currently drying out in front of the fire.”

He believed the weather system must have been travelling down from the north east for the debris to land on his property at Aulyn Drive.

Although he was yet to catch up with any neighbours, he said he wouldn’t be surprised if they also found a few “deliveries” on their property.

“We’ll put this in our rural delivery box and just write ‘sent to wrong address’.”

Van der Velden said they had been in Karaka 20 years and never seen anything like it.

“This is a new one, that’s for real. Debris from the sky,” he joked.

“This would have to be a first where an ACC letter is delivered air mail via a tornado.”

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