People are being warned of a brief respite in wild weather, with more in the forecast for the weekend.
The MetService is forecasting a front to race up the South Island during Thursday, then crosses the North Island early Friday morning.
This front will bring a short burst of heavy rain to western areas, with a risk of thunderstorms.
The front is followed by a change to showery southwesterlies, which are expected to be gale force in exposed places.
“A strong wind watch has been issued for coastal parts of southern New Zealand from Friday afternoon through to Saturday morning, and the prolonged period of southwest winds will also generate large waves, with southwest swells rising to 6 metres for a time," says MetService Meteorologist Peter Little.
"Snow showers are also expected down to 600 metres over southern regions for a time, affecting some of the higher roads.”
Temperatures remain cool through the weekend, and in places exposed to the wind it will feel much colder due to windchill.
“If you’re planning on standing on the sideline this Saturday you may need a scarf and beanie as well as your raincoat!."
The southwest winds ease on Sunday, with showers becoming confined to the west and far south of the South Island.
“For most folk Sunday is looking like the best day to plan outdoor activities, with lighter winds and mostly sunny skies expected. In places sheltered from southwest winds it could also be a frosty start."