An Air New Zealand flight has been hit by lightning as severe thunderstorms lash Northland.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said flight NZ8678 from Auckland to Kerikeri was hit by lightning this afternoon.

It returned to Auckland after the strike to be checked by engineers. It landed at Auckland at 2.20pm, and passengers are being accommodated on other services.

The strike comes as Northland is hit by storms which have pummelled the country this week.

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A severe thunderstorm warning is in place for the region.

Meanwhile earlier today, an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Nadi was forced to turn around due to an "engineering issue".