The last day of the year is looking good for much of the North Island.

But there are severe weather warnings in place for parts of the South Island, with heavy rain and strong winds forecast in some areas.

Auckland is mostly fine today with a chance of light showers at some point and a temperature high of 23C.

The first day of 2017 is also looking good for the City of Sails, with light winds expected and a high of 23C again and overnight low of 16C.

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Conditions in Hamilton and the Waikato region are similar; with lots of sunshine today and a high of 24C.

It's a bit cloudier there tomorrow, however, and there are a few showers developing in the area.

Further north, in Kaitaia, today is mostly fine save for a chance of shower. Weather conditions will be the same tomorrow, with a high of 24C.

Whangarei is also in for sunny conditions most of today, as is Tauranga.

And festival-goers at Rhythm & Vines, in Gisborne, are in for a beautiful day today - with a high of 26C and 27C tomorrow.

New Plymouth is fine today, apart from morning and evening cloud. But the barbeque may have to wait tomorrow as there will be rain and north-westerly winds developing.

Palmerston North is also looking great today, but the first day of 2017 will bring rain and an overnight low of 17C.

While Wellington is mostly sunny today, strong gales and patches of drizzle on a cloudy are expected on the first day of the year.

A severe weather warning has been issued over Westland and Buller and MetService warned anyone heading out in those areas to take note of the weather conditions and to be prepared.

"An active front is expected to approach the South Island during Saturday afternoon then move east over the region Saturday night and Sunday,'' MetService said.

"People in the affected areas - especially trampers - are advised that rivers and streams may rise rapidly during this time and to exercise caution when travelling in heavy rain.''

In Westland, rain is forecast to become heavy late this afternoon and then easing tomorrow morning.

Those in the area should expect between 150mm to 200mm of rain to fall about the ranges between 4pm today to about 10am tomorrow; with 70mm to 100mm nearer the coast, mainly south of Hokitika.

In Buller, rain is forecast to become heavy overnight before easing tomorrow afternoon.

Up to 130mm of rain was expected about the ranges and between 50mm to 80mm nearer the coast.

There is also a severe weather watch in place for places including Wellington, Wairarapa, Marlborough, Fiordland, Canterbury High Country and the Canterbury Plains.

There is a high possibility of heavy rain "reaching warning criteria'' over the Tararua Range and Mt Taranaki tomorrow and easing off on Monday and Tuesday.

"North to north-west gales are forecast about inland Canterbury, Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa ahead of this front and a watch for possible severe gales has also been issued for these areas.''

Nelson has a cloudy but fine day today, but will get some rain tomorrow morning and a high of 22C.

Greymouth gets a rainy day today and it will be heavier tonight. There is a high of 17C and overnight low of 14C. Rain will herald in the new year tomorrow and there is a possibility it will be heavy during the day.

Christchurch gets a spot of rain later this evening, but it will be mainly fine tomorrow and a staggering 30C high.

Dunedin gets occasional rain today - as does Queenstown - but both cities will be mainly fine tomorrow save for some late showers.

Those in Invercargill will see occasional rain today and a high of 25C; but a fine day tomorrow with a high of 20C.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Kaitaia:

23C high. Mostly fine.

Auckland:

23C. Mostly fine, chance of light shower.

Whangarei:

24C. Mostly fine, chance of shower.

Gisborne:

26C. Fine. Northerlies developing.

Tauranga:

22C. Mostly sunny.

Wellington:

18C. Mostly sunny. Northerly strengthens.

Nelson:

20C. Cloudy. A few spots of rain.

Greymouth:

17C. Rain, possibly heavy.

Blenheim:

23C. Cloudy few spots of evening rain.

Christchurch:

24C. Cloud increasing. Northeasterly winds.

Queenstown:

23C. Occasional rain. Northwesterlies strengthening.

Dunedin:

21C. Mostly cloudy, occasional rain.

Invercargill:

25C. Occasional rain. Easterlies turning northerly.

- MetService