A thunderstorm caught an Air New Zealand flight off guard this morning after lightning struck Air NZ615 en route from Auckland to Queenstown.

The flight, which departed Auckland at 9.30am, had to be diverted to Christchurch Airport, according to passengers.

A passenger said they heard the lightning clip a wing shortly after take off but did not think much of it.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson confirmed flight NZ615 was diverted to Christchurch after the lightning struck.

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"The aircraft is being assessed by engineers in Christchurch and customers were put onto an alternative service to Queenstown. There were 141 customers on board.

"Lightning strikes are not uncommon. Aircrafts are designed with this in mind and our pilots train for this scenario."

Air NZ615 from Auckland to Queenstown was diverted to Christchurch after lightning struck the plane shortly after take off during a thunder storm. Photo / Flight Radar
Air NZ615 from Auckland to Queenstown was diverted to Christchurch after lightning struck the plane shortly after take off during a thunder storm. Photo / Flight Radar

The incident happened amid passing thunderstorms in Auckland this morning.

Aucklanders endured a drenching for much of the morning and MetService meteorologist Rob Kerr said the passing showers would continue until around 2pm today.

"We saw you guys had a thunderstorm, a little lightning strike over the city. A moderate risk of thunderstorms is going to continue across the Auckland region into this afternoon," Kerr said.

"What we've got is a showery southwest flow at the moment and that's bringing the intermittent showers. There is a little trough that's lying south between Raglan and Tauranga at the moment moving slowly northwards.

"As that clears Auckland as it goes through the afternoon it should clear up quite nicely."

Hamilton experienced its second night of heavy downpours before skies cleared for Saturday morning sports by 9am.

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Thunderstorms can also be expected in northern Coromandel Peninsula and the Hauraki Gulf in the early afternoon, and about western Northland.

There was also a low risk of a few thunderstorms about eastern Wairarapa and about coastal Hawkes Bay and Gisborne.