Heavy rain and strong winds are lashing parts of the country today and the forecast isn't looking any brighter for Mother's Day.

Heavy rain is forecast for the north, with some severe watches in place and severe winds in the south are forecast to arrive on Saturday.

Auckland is expected to get 53.3mm of rainfall today, according to MetService.

A severe weather watch is in place for the possibility of rainfall accumulations reaching warning criteria over Northland, Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, remainder of Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupō, Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Taihape, remainder of Gisborne and the Hawkes Bay Ranges, MetService said.

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The heaviest rain is expected about eastern Bay of Plenty (east of Whakatāne) and Gisborne north of Ruatoria, and a severe weather warning is now in force. The heavy rain about Mt Taranaki has eased, and that warning is now lifted.

Northwesterly gales may approach severe strength in exposed parts of the Canterbury High Country.

Auckland has been lashed with heavy rain this morning, but that hasn't stopped nurses turning out to march in unison with International Nurses Day.

The march is the climax of a Facebook page called "New Zealand, please hear our voice" that was started by two anonymous nurses in March and has already gathered more than 45,000 members nationwide.

At midday on Saturday members of the group, along with other supporters, will be partaking in rallies all over New Zealand.