The New Year has landed, now here comes the rain.

The MetService is forecasting rain for much of New Zealand today, perhaps ruining plans for post-party barbecues and sunbathing.

The North Island will be mostly cloudy with scattered rain or showers south of Auckland. and becoming fine south of Wanganui later.

Those in the South Island will have a mostly cloudy day with a few showers but remaining dry in Nelson and Buller.

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From Northland to the Bay of Plenty including Auckland and Waikato there will be isolated showers and cloudy periods.

Gisborne will be fine with high cloud but Hawke's Bay can expect "a few spots of rain", the MetService said.

For the central North Island and Wellington including Taumarunui, Taihape and Wairarapa rain will spread tomost places this morning, and could become heavy in some areas.

Severe gale northwesterlies are also predicted for exposed parts of Wellington and Wairarapa.

If you're in Buller, Westland or Fiordland it's best to stay inside, with heavy rain on the way.

Scattered rain will clear by the afternoon in the Nelson area and for Canterbury, Otago and Southland there will be more of the same.