Mix of showers and sun for tennis, racing and cricket but next few days are expected to be warm in the north.

The New Year weather has been a patchy mix, but mostly sunny skies are forecast in the next few days.

The North Island saw mostly grey skies, rain and cooler temperatures yesterday, with the sun only coming out later in the afternoon.

In Auckland, the annual New Year's Day racing at the Ellerslie Racecourse had punters wrapped up warmly and sheltering from showers under umbrellas, while rain briefly held up tennis at the ASB Classic.

Heavier showers also delayed the start of the third cricket One Day International between the Black Caps and the West Indies in Queenstown.


New Zealand went on to beat the West Indies to level the five-match series 1-1, thanks to a record-breaking century from Corey Anderson and a ton from Jesse Ryder.

But the MetService said the weather would improve in the next few days. A high of 24 C is forecast in Auckland today and temperatures get warmer heading into the weekend, with a high of 26 C expected tomorrow and Saturday.

The Waikato will also get fairly warm temperatures today and in the next few days, with a high of 23C forecast in Hamilton and around the region today.

However, those planning to enjoy the outdoors in and around Hamilton may have to think again, with rain set to fall tomorrow and at the weekend.

Forecaster Rochelle Fleming said: "It's a little bit of an unsettled spell, really. For [today], it should be pretty good over most of northern New Zealand.

"The weekend - we're expecting lots of fine spells, but also some rain, so it won't be completely dry. But there will be lots of sunshine. ... It will be warmer in some places, like going towards Northland and the Bay of Islands."

Last night, the MetService put out a severe gale warning for Wellington, with gusts expected to reach up to 140km/h tonight and picking up tomorrow morning.

Earlier yesterday, severe weather warnings were issued for Buller, Westland, Nelson, Marlborough, Fiordland, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

Meteorologist Daniel Corbett said a second front approaching the South Island today would bring gale-force northwesterlies and heavy rain - especially in Fiordland, Westland, Otago and Canterbury headwaters.

He said conditions would not calm down until next week.