A tornado which swept through the Waikato town of Cambridge early on Friday has left six houses uninhabitable.

The tornado roared through the town about 3am Friday, ripping off roofs, and bringing down power lines and trees, including an 80-year-old oak tree which locals said was ripped out of the ground.

Most of the houses declared uninhabitable by the Waipa District Council several hours later had lost all or a good part of their roofs and could not have power restored until the damage was repaired.

Power was expected to be restored to most of the houses and buildings on Friday.

None of the six houses had been written off, said council spokeswoman, Nicki Davidson.

“It is basically the damage that has been done to the roofs. They cannot have the power on with all the roofs exposed.”

Davidson said tree contractors spent much of the morning removing roofing iron from trees and clearing roads of fallen trees.

“All the roads had been cleared.”

She said the Cambridge Soccer Club was also badly damaged.

“The roof was quite severely damaged and all the windows were blown out.

“We have volunteers from Fonterra and a lot of our parks and gardens staff are going around the field picking up glass.

“There is a lot of glass inside the building but there is also a lot of glass around the vicinity of the building.

“They are shoulder to shoulder, walking up and down picking up glass.”

The soccer clubrooms was one of the few buildings with window damage. Davidson said most of the damage was to roofs and it all happened within five minutes before the tornado swept out of town.

Insurance assessors spent most of the day in the town looking at damage. She said the response from local tradespeople offering to help was “quite outstanding”.