Thunderstorms and heavy downpours will ruin the Christmas Day barbeque and drag families indoors across much of the country today.
Auckland is faring better with cloud overhead, but there's still a chance of isolated showers later in the afternoon. Northland has clear skies and some sun is peaking through on the western side of the North Island.
• Weather: Rain and wind around in most regions for next few days
• Christmas Day weather forecast: Sunny for some, thunderstorms for others
• The weather outside's delightful: Settled weather for Kiwi Christmas
• Is this the end of the golden weather?
For the rest of New Zealand, it's a bleak picture with a warning from Niwa of heavy downpours with flooding and slips.
Rain is forecast to continue on Boxing Day morning, making conditions for driving difficult as people head to the beach and bach.
Weatherwatch said the highest risk for heavy rain is inland parts of the upper half of the North Island. The downpours are predicted to drift right across Waikato and parts of the Bay of Plenty guided by sea breezes as the day heats up. Thunderstorms are on the cards this afternoon.
At 8.15am this morning, Weatherwatch said showers are tracking around Rotorua to Murupara and moving southwards in a light northerly breeze. Some patchy weather is also spilling over into northern Hawkes Bay.
In the South Island, patchy light rain is moving into Canterbury and showers are forecast for Dunedin later in the day.
The main ranges in the South Island will get heavy downpours this afternoon, clearing in the evening.
Boxing Day's weather looks much the same - showers in the central North Island, though it will become fine in the east of the South Island.
However the 26th could have another surprise in store - a tropical cyclone is expected to form near Fiji.
Forecasters say it is too early to say if it will make it down to New Zealand over the holiday period but are watching the area closely.
Possible afternoon showers 23C
Auckland: Fairly cloudy, 25 per cent chance of rain this afternoon 23C
Tauranga: Cloudy morning, isolated showers in the afternoon 22C
Hamilton: Cloudy and dry this morning, possible downpours this afternoon 24C
New Plymouth: Mostly cloudy, slim chance of rain 22C
Napier/Hastings: Afternoon showers 19C
Wellington: Mostly cloudy with south-east winds. Slim chance of rain 17C
Nelson: Cloud, 20 per cent chance of rain 19C
Christchurch: Cloud with possible light showers in the afternoon 15C
Dunedin: Showers 14C
Queenstown: Light rain developing in the afternoon 16C
Invercargill: Partly cloudy 14C