Four fires burned through trees and farm buildings in central and southern Hawke's Bay as peak winds of more than 100km/h caused headaches for firefighters.
A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said the four fires, one each in Maraekakaho, Mill Rd in Ashley Clinton, Oporae Rd near Waione, and lastly, Te Uri near Dannevirke, were fought with significant resources.
The Te Uri fire, more than 22km out of Dannevirke, had set alight a haybarn at 11.20am on Friday.
The spokesman said the barn was well-involved when emergency services arrived.
At Mill Rd firefighters from around Central Hawke's Bay were called at 6am on Friday to what was reported as a flare-up in a forestry block.
By 6.30am, it had spread to 100m by 50m in size and was being fanned by strong winds, the spokesman said.
By 7.30am it had been brought under control, but a large contingent of firefighters remained at the scene to fully extinguish it.
In Waione at 6.10am firefighters were called to a grass fire that had spread into a 30m-high stand of macrocarpa trees, the spokesman said.
A shed was also potentially "compromised" by the flames, but there was no other property at risk, he said.
Firefighters from the Weber and Dannevirke brigades remained on the scene at 7.20am.
The two fires continued a busy night for firefighting crews.
At 9.30pm on Thursday they were called to a bonfire that had burned "out of control" across a 50sq m area near Maraekakaho.
Winds in the area were strong at the time, but firefighters prevented it from spreading further.
Then earlier on Friday, about 5.30am, firefighters had been called to a lodge near Ongaonga for an alarm activation.
No fire was found and it was determined that high winds had tripped the alarm, the spokesman said.
On Friday morning, northwesterly winds coming from the ranges brought maximum gusts of 109km/h in Mahia, 96km/h in Te Kauwae-a-Māui/Cape Kidnappers, 91km/h on the Takapau Plains and 70km/h in Ahuriri.
"Gusts are likely to increase throughout Friday as daytime heating allows gusts to come down to a lower level, meaning the wind will become more prominent during the day," MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said.
A strong wind watch was put in place for the region until 10pm Friday. Councils said no wind-related damage has been reported.
The windy weather brings a top temperature of 22C to the region on Friday, which will drop to 17C on Saturday due to a southwesterly change in wind direction.
"Once the front passes on Friday we will not be out of the woods, it will stay quite gusty on Saturday and be a bit cooler with winds coming from the south," McInnes said.
"Temperatures will climb back up to 19C on Sunday, which is the warmest Sunday temperature forecast in the North Island.
"Sunday winds will be calm by comparison, making it the best day to go out and enjoy the weather."