Traffic congestion on State Highway 1 north of Auckland has eased, the NZ Transport Agency says.

There had been delays beteween Puhoi and Warkworth, but these had now eased, the agency said on Twitter at 2.15pm,

Traffic has been congested on Auckland's Southern Motorway between Manukau and Takanini, the NZ Transport Agency says.

This follows an easing of delays on State Highway 1 in Auckland that were caused by a crash.

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The crash was at 11.30am on the Southern Motorway's Mt Wellington offramp to the South Eastern Arterial's northbound onramp.

"Due to an incident in this location lanes 1 & 2 are blocked. Expect delays in the area or delay your travel if possible," the agency said at first

The agency tweeted at 12.34pm that congestion between East Tamaki and Mt Wellington had slowed traffic flow, and urged people to consider delaying travel.

But a 1.06pm update said the congestion had eased.

In Wellington, too, holiday weekend traffic was reduced to a crawl by a crash on State Highway 1 north out of the city.

The crash happened at around 1pm on the motorway near Tawa, but the congestion it caused had eased by 3pm.

The agency is also reporting heavy flows southbound at the motorway's Takanini interchange following a crash there at 9.55am.

And it says traffic is heavy today on SH1 Puhoi to Warkworth.

The weather

The sun is shining down on much of the country today as Kiwis settle into a holiday weekend, although showers are expected in some eastern areas and there is a severe-weather warning.

It might even be warm enough for a trip to the beach in some places, but only just.

The warning issued this morning covers Gisborne and northeastern Hawkes Bay, where heavy rain is expected.

"A low pressure system just east of Gisborne is expected to stay slow moving today but move away to the northeast and weaken overnight," the MetService says.

"Rain with some heavy falls is forecast to continue throughout much of the day. In the 12 hours from 9am today, 70 to 90mm may accumulate in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay east of Wairoa.

"People are advised that this amount of rain could cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly, and slips and surface flooding are possible."

But much of the country could expect a great Labour Day weekend, with most enjoying at least two good-weather days, said Philip Duncan, of Weather Watch.

The MetService says a trough of low pressure weakens then moves off the North Island tonight. A high over the South Island spreads north during the weekend and a front approaches southern New Zealand from the Tasman Sea tomorrow night.

The North Island is expected to be mainly fine tomorrow, with morning frosts in some places, but occasional showers about Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. The South Island can expect cloudy periods.

On Monday, cloud is likely to increase over the North Island, with a few showers developing in the north and around Horowhenua, Kapiti Coast and Wellington. In the South Island, rain is expected in the north and west, with high cloud elsewhere and a few spots of rain.

Travellers faced congestion hotspots in leaving some cities yesterday afternoon, including on Auckland's Southern Motorway, and there was a crash and a breakdown on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

The NZ Transport Agency is today warning of traffic delays in Auckland's Ellerslie/Greenlane area with the Spring Raceday at the Ellerslie racecourse.

The agency says these are congestion hotspots to watch for:

MetService forecasts

Auckland
Today

Showers then mostly sunny, 16C

Tomorrow

Fine, 18C

Monday

Showers, 20C

Hamilton
Today

Showers then mostly sunny, southerly, 18C
Tomorrow
Fine, possible frosts, 20C
Monday
Cloudy, 21C

Tauranga
Today

Showers, 19C
Tomorrow
Fine, 20C
Monday
Showers, 19C

Wellington
Today

Showers then sunny, 13C
Tomorrow
Fine, 16C
Monday
Showers, 17C

Christchurch
Today

Sunny, 14C
Tomorrow
Cloudy periods, 14C
Monday
High cloud, spots of rain, 17C

Dunedin
Today

Sunny, 18C
Tomorrow
Cloudy, 13C
Monday
High cloud, spots of rain, 15C