After terrorising the Pacific Islands, ex-tropical Cyclone Gita made landfall in Aotearoa last night with the eye focused on the north-west of the South Island.

In Nelson, schools were closed for the day yesterday, and a local Māori teacher at Nelson Central School, Tom Alesana says families are grateful to have their kids’ home while they were preparing to weather the storm yesterrday.

“The people are really prepared for the arrival of Gita.”

MetService has warned that Cyclone Gita is likely to touch down in the northern South Island, covering land from there.

Alesana says schools are closed.

“Principals and the staff in charge of all schools, childcare centres and kōhanga reo have sent out notices that children should stay at home with their families and that families should prepare food and water for the days ahead.”

And they've had plenty of warnings to keep safe.

“Firstly, from our iwi and from our government departments, as well as our regional district councils who have all advised that we should all stay home and don’t travel far from home.”

Air NZ has also cancelled flights to and from Wellington, Hokitika, New Plymouth, Queenstown and Nelson.

If people find themselves in need, Alesana says  a marae is preparing to receive people in need.

“One of the local marae is preparing for this event. That marae has the Civil Defence there with food and other emergency supplies ready.”

Gita will be heading south, but the effects of the storm will be felt all over, so keep up to date with weather forecasts through MetService: