Heavy rain is on its way this weekend, ushering in a wet second week for the school holidays.

MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for the Nelson ranges west of Motueka from early Saturday evening.

A heavy rain watch has also been issued for Mt Taranaki from 7pm on Saturday, and for the Nelson area aside from the part of the ranges covered by the warning.

Virtually everywhere except the far south of the country will get a drenching at some stage this weekend, MetService said.

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The wet weather would reach the West Coast late today before spreading across the rest of the country.

Rain would bucket down across most of the North Island on Saturday and Sunday.

Niwa described the days of wet weather as a slow-moving Tasman storm.

MetService said the north could expect significant totals on Sunday and Monday with Northland, Auckland, Coromandel and Mt Taranaki in the firing line.

Much of the South Island would also be in for a drenching with parts of Nelson seeing some of the heaviest falls from Saturday to Monday.

Only Southland, Otago and Fiordland will remain under clear skies.

The unsettled weather would continue into next week with rain falling across much of New Zealand.