The scene involving an Airbus A380 was seen at 15:30 (02:30 GMT) by a pilot from Garden City Helicopters.
"The view out our window onto the tarmac today!" the company wrote on Facebook. "The Emirates plane [was] waiting for the storm to pass."
MetService New Zealand had issued thunderstorm warnings for the area.
Parts of the Canterbury region suffered severe storms, with hailstones the size of eggs in places, local media report.
Local MP Andrew Falloon filmed large hailstones falling outside his office in Timaru.