Strong winds are buffeting Southland and Otago this afternoon with gusts of 90km/h recorded in Dunedin and Gore.
Gales are expected to move into Otago and Canterbury this evening.
A severe weather warning is in place for Otago and Southland, including Stewart Island, with a watch in place for high winds in Canterbury, and for heavy rain in Fiordland and Westland.
MetService duty forecaster Chris Noble said the worst of the winds so far had been in the deep south and Stewart Island.
While the strongest gusts had been in remote coastal areas, winds in Dunedin and Gore were gusting up to about 90km/h.
The high winds are expected to ease this evening as a front moves onto the South Island, bringing heavy rain for Fiordland and Westland, and a moderate risk of thunderstorms.