Around 2 am local time on 10th February, the stunningly beautiful island of Aitutaki was hit head on by winds gusting to more than 185kph (115mph). And for the next three hours, Cyclone Pat - classified as category 3 on a scale where 5 is the most severe - tore roofs off homes, ripped schools apart, snapped power lines in two, devastated agriculture and vegetation and sent tons of debris flying into the air. Damage was estimated at NZ$15 million (UK£7.1m, US$10.6m, 7.8m Euros).
Mayor Tai Herman describd it as "the worst cyclone in living memory" on the island. "Houses were tied down with wires and ropes...but it wasn't any matter to the wind", he explained the next day as he surveyed the aftermath. Remarkably and thankfully though, there were only nine minor injuries.
"THE LOUDEST WIND YOU'VE EVER HEARD"
A visitor told Radio New Zealand International that she and about 60 tourists and locals were evacuated to a church on higher ground just before the cyclone hit. She said: "It was like the loudest wind you've ever heard and then because the roofs had been ripped off the houses and the water tanks were flying past and trees, it just sounded like chaos."