Heavy gales are expected to buffet much of the country this afternoon and evening, and heavy rain watches are in place for some areas.
Wind gusts of 120 to 140 kilometre an hour are possible in exposed parts of Wellington, Wairarapa and the Marlborough Sounds, and the Kapiti Coast, Manawatu, Tararua District, and Hawke's Bay.
MetService weather ambassador Bob McDavitt said winds of this strength have the potential to cause damage to trees, powerlines and unsecured structures.
"If you don't need to travel, you should stay out home and make sure your guttering is all clear and can drain properly.''
MetService said heavy rain is possible for parts of Otago and Southland, and the Tararua Ranges.
Forecast steady rain has already arrived in Southland, bringing further relief to dry conditions across the province.
Environment Southland spokesman Karl Erikson said rain has been falling steadily overnight and today, with totals between 20 millimetres and 40 millimetres in some parts.
He said the most promising aspect of the rainfall is its rate, at between 3 to 5 millimetres an hour, giving the moisture the chance to soak into the ground.
Some of aquifers are already showing signs of being recharged by the rainfall.
A handful of Wellington flights have already been delayed by the wild winds sweeping across the country.
Severe northerly gales hit parts of the central North Island and Nelson overnight and severe northwesterly gales moved cross Wellington, Wairarapa and the Marlborough Sounds this morning.
Air New Zealand said there had been a number of disruptions relating to the weather at Wellington Airport this morning, with delays to four flights departing Wellington.
An airport spokeswoman said flights were delayed by about half an hour.
Two Air New Zealand flights to Wellington, from Hamilton and Westport, were cancelled due to engineering issues rather than the weather.
Police southern communications spokesman Trevor Cross said the wind had brought down a number of trees on the West Coast overnight.
"It must have gone through with a fair bit of force, there were quite a few trees down around the Westport area,'' he said.
Winds gusting up to 100km/h felled trees and damaged rooves in Buller and power was cut to about 1000 consumers, mainly north of Westport.
All but 200 consumers had power back on by about 9.30am but Buller Electricity warned some might be without power until early evening.
"The forecast is not flash for this region for the rest of today. We may get more power outages,'' said Buller Electricity chief executive Erik Westergaard. "The message to customers is just to bear with us. We are doing the best we can in the conditions to get power on as fast as we can.''
Buller Electricity believed it had isolated downed lines, but warned customers to treat them as live, Mr Westergaard said.
The outages also affected Westport's water treatment station. The Buller District Council warned consumers might be switched to untreated water later today if it couldn't get a generator going.
In Fairdown, north of Westport a corrugated iron shed flew 50 metres into a garden, landing on a guinea pig cage, but Squeaky the guinea pig escaped unharmed.
At nearby Waimangaroa another shed was ripped apart and tiles from a house roof flew into a car.
Trees were also down north of Auckland and in Lower Hutt, and powerlines had come down in Wairoa, but there was no significant damage.
Firefighters attended only a handful of minor incidents, including to secure a trampoline and roofing tiles.
- APNZBy Newstalk ZB, APNZ