As Cyclone Fehi releases its grip on the South Island, Greymouth locals are working to put their community back together.

When the storm raged outside yesterday, the community of Greymouth was hunkered down to wait it out.

Local deputy principal, Jason Renau, describes the storm as an hour and a half of deafening terror.

“It was about 10:30 in the morning when the first big wind came through and all the doors were slamming and immediately I sent an email out to all staff instructing them to keep students inside.”

At John Paul II High School, the wind was deafening and strong.

“I looked out the window and everything, trees, branches and everything just going past vertically. You've just got this roar, just this immense roar outside and you know that there's no point in going outside to do anything or just save anybody or pass on a message or anything. You just have to sit tight.”

But Renau says Greymouth is quite used to disaster and the community spirit is strong.

“The whole community we're pretty strong. We've all gone through Pike River, we've all gone through floods over the years, we've gone through other disasters over the last 50 - 100 years so we're a strong community and it's times like this that community healing is evident.”

As kids always seem to manage to bounce back, it was back to school yesterday.

“The school was out there this afternoon. Now that we've fined up a little bit with brooms to help with the clean-up. Its lunch time right now and the kids are outside. The staff is doing what they need to make sure that lessons can continue normally.”

But while the weather's cleared, there are still heaps to do.

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