Shortly after 12pm, police confirmed five Owhiro Bay homes were being evacuated.
Some sections of footpath were entirely ripped off the ground, and the footbridge over a stream was wiped out.
Stuff reporter Nikki Macdonald at Owhiro Bay said she woke on Wednesday to a beautiful day with the odd wave slopping over the sea wall and road.
“But as it got closer to the 11am high tide, the swell just got bigger, and bigger,” Macdonald said.
“The seaside fence had been completely smashed in, so there was nothing to stop it washing back into the sea. Neighbours rushed out between deluges to try to salvage what they could.
“Logs the size of cars worked their way up and down the surf. We watched, hoping one wouldn’t be thrown directly at us.”
A police spokeswoman said people were told to stay home and avoid the foreshore.
“Do not come down to take pictures or just to have a look,” she said.
At high tide waves peaked at more than 5 metres.
“[Coronavirus] alert level 4 requirements still apply. If evacuation is required, police will come to your property and speak with you.”
The waves had caused power cuts and large logs blocked some roads in the area.
Emergency services had the situation in hand and did not require offers of accommodation for those currently evacuated, the spokeswoman said.
“A number of road blocks remain in place and police are working closely with partners to clean up the roads and assess damage.”
The MetService said more waves of 3 to 5½ metres were expected from Palliser Bay to Wellington’s south coast.
These would ease to 4-metre peaks on Wednesday evening and 2 metres by Thursday afternoon.
NIWA forecaster Ben Noll said their were caused by a deep area of low pressure passing the Chatham Islands.