Scientists have been taking a close look at the damage wrought by Cyclone Yasi in Australia so they can provide advice on building methods in New Zealand.
The devastating cyclone struck the state of Queensland with winds of more than 280km/h in February.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) says weatherboard and fibreboard houses suffered more damage than those made from brick or concrete.
It also found that roofs made from sheet metal performed better in the wind than tiled roofs.
It says much of the damage was caused by small garden sheds, garages or house awnings breaking up in the strong winds and becoming missiles that flew into neighbouring properties.
NIWA says the ongoing research will help improve building standards in storm-prone parts of New Zealand and help insurance companies work out their exposure, should a large tropical cyclone occur.