Sunshine will be a predominant feature of the first weekend of the warmer season, which will be welcome news for Kiwis hoping to make the most of their weekends off work at one of a number of festivals and shows around the country.

The first day of summer has arrived and with it toasty temperatures expected to hit 30 degrees in the Garden City of Christchurch and well over 20 in most other main centres.

MetService meteorologist Andy Best said the warm temperatures were set to remain for most of the country - with the hottest spots being around Canterbury, Otago and Southland this weekend.

"This heat is expected to continue for a few days, with hot temperatures continuing into the first week of summer."

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However, he said the weekend would not be rain-free.

"The New Zealand Flower and Garden Show in Auckland, The Palmerston North Christmas Parade and the Mudtopia Festival in Rotorua, will have generally fine but they all have the potential to be affected by a few showers over the weekend."

MetService forecasts a few "severe" thunderstorms would make a showing around inland parts of the North Island.

"Light winds and coastal sea breezes around the country, combined with instability and humid conditions over many places are ideal recipes for the development of convection and consequently thunderstorms," said Best.

Around the main centres Christchurch would see the hottest temperatures with a high of 30 degrees on what's expected to be a sunny Saturday with few breezes.

Auckland risked seeing the odd afternoon shower, but was expected to be largely fine with its hottest high a balmy 24 degrees on Sunday.

The capital was slightly cooler, with its warmest temperature a mere 22 degrees today.

However, it was forecast to stay dry despite the occasional evening cloud.

Weekend weather
AUCKLAND
Today: Mainly fine, but a chance of an afternoon shower
Northeast breezes

H 23C
L 14C

Tomorrow: Mainly fine, but chance afternoon shower
Northeast breezes

H 23C
L 14C

Sunday: Mainly fine, chance afternoon shower
Light winds

H 24C
L 15C

WELLINGTON
Today: Fine, apart from evening cloud
Northerlies developing this morning

H 22C
L 16C

Tomorrow: Fine, apart from evening cloud
Northerlies

H 21C
L 16C

Sunday: Mainly fine, cloud developing later
Northerlies picking up
H 21C
L 16C

CHRISTCHURCH
Today: Fine, apart from early morning low cloud
Northeasterly breezes

H 25C
L 12C

Tomorrow: Fine with light winds

H 30C
L 13C

Sunday: Fine apart from morning low cloud. High cloud developing later
Northeasterlies for a time

H 29C
L 13C
Sourced from MetService