The sun has come out to play and it's here to stay, with a scorcher of a long weekend set to continue across New Zealand.

Temperatures soared into the 30s in some places yesterday, and Kiwis were quick to soak up the long-awaited sunshine at the beach or the park.

Others opted for a more action-packed day as 30,000 fans cheered on their favourite teams at the NRL Auckland Nines.

The weekend got off to a spectacular start for visitors to Auckland's waterfront, who were greeted to the sight of a family of orcas frolicking in the harbour on Friday evening.

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Yesterday the weather was glorious in Waitangi. Local children cooled off by taking a splash in the river, as preparations geared up to mark 177 years since signing the treaty.

It was sunscreen and hats all round, and it looks set to continue.

"Waitangi is looking spectacular this weekend," according to Weather Watch head analyst Philip Duncan.

Temperatures were expected to be in the late 20s today and on Monday, he said.

Auckland reached a balmy 27C, however a south-westerly breeze cooled things off. This is expected to die down today.

A family of orca whales frolick in Auckland harbour on Friday evening. Photo / Bruce Jarvis Agency
A family of orca whales frolick in Auckland harbour on Friday evening. Photo / Bruce Jarvis Agency

Canterbury was yesterday's hot spot with a recorded high of 35C, which Duncan said will only get hotter along with the rest of the country today and tomorrow.

"There is a lot of high pressure over the country," said Duncan.

The east coast of the North Island is also set to heat up with Gisborne and Hawke's Bay expected to reach temperatures in the mid 30s by Monday.

Today promises to be great for getting out and enjoying Waitangi weekend events across the country.

Highlights include Fat Freddy's Drop playing in Queenstown, the Coromandel Mussel Festival and the Black Caps taking on Australia at Seddon Park.

Looking ahead to Monday, the main Waitangi Day commemorations will start with a dawn service from 5am on the Treaty Grounds, later to be followed by entertainment and market stalls in the sunshine.