Winter's last kiss has struck the North Island today - with heavy snow, gales and rain falling in parts of the country usually linked to hot summer holidays.
A heavy snow warning is in place for Hawke's Bay and Gisborne with the warning officially being categorised as an "orange" alert by the local district council. It is in place until 6pm tonight.
"Heavy snow may disrupt travel in affected areas and could damage trees and powerlines," the Gisborne District Council said early this morning.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has confirmed that some roads have been closed in central New Zealand.
"Please avoid travelling as detours are only via New Plymouth or Gisborne."
SH5 Rotorua to Taupo, SH46 Tongariro to Rangipo & Napier-Taihape Rd are closed.
Motorists travelling on SH1 Desert Rd, SH4 Tohunga Junction to National Park, SH5 Napier to Taupō, SH47 Rangipo to National Park and SH49 Tohunga Junction (Ohakune) to Waiouru are advised to use caution.
Roughly 260 homes around the Hawke's Bay region were without power as at 8.15am due to four separate outages.
They affected mainly rural and exposed areas: Tikokino (nearly 200 homes), Kahuranaki, Te Apiti, and one on Southland Rd, Hastings, and Gough said: "I think it's going to be a busy day today".
Locals are told that snow is possible down to 200m in the area and may become heavy about 500m where 15cm to 20cm of snow is expected to accumulate.
Metservice says snow has been falling to low levels in both North and South islands throughout the day.
A low weather system moved over the central part of New Zealand overnight and early this morning.
"This low continues to bring heavy snow to low levels and severe gale southerlies across the central and northern districts of the country," MetService said last night.
Central and southern parts of the North Island might have been surprised to see heavy snow in their area too.
Aucklanders woke to a day of rain - with showers, some heavy, throughout the day.
Those conditions are not expected to ease back until this evening and an overnight low of 5C will mean for an extra blanket or two tonight.
Severe weather warnings - heavy snow and strong winds
MetService has issued a number of severe weather warnings and watches around the country.
As well as the bad weather, cold conditions may cause stress for livestock.
Heavy snow warnings are in place for Taihape and the northern hill country of Whanganui until 4pm on Monday.
A heavy snow warning for Wairarapa including the Tararua District and also the Tararua and Remutaka ranges was in place until 2pm on Monday.
An early warning for Marlborough, south of Seddon, and Canterbury north of the Rākaia River (not including Christchurch and Banks Peninsula) lifted at 6am.
Strong wind warning were in place for a number of areas but many have now passed.
A warning is in place for Hawke's Bay south of Napier, and coastal areas further north including the Wairoa District until 2pm.
A warning was in place for Wellington and coastal Marlborough but that has now been lifted.
Mark Parry, of Merrilands in New Plymouth, woke up to find the neighbours' trampoline sitting on his roof this morning.
He said gale force winds whipped through their neighbourhood about 5am and flung the trampoline onto their house.
Firefighters had been called in to remove the tramp.
Wellington Airport said just before 7.30am that strong wind was causing disruption to flights this morning.
Passengers were told to contact their airline or check the airport's live flight information for updates.
Road snowfall warnings
Those travelling on the roads today are told to check the weather conditions beforehand and throughout the day, as snow will affect some main routes.
MetService also encourages motorists to keep up-to-date with the road snowfall warnings on its website.
Roads due to be affected by heavy snowfall include the Napier-Taupō Road (State Highway 5), Desert Road (SH1), Remutaka Hill Road (SH2), Lewis Pass (SH7), Porters Pass (SH73), Crown Range Road, Milford Road (SH94) and the Dunedin to Waitati Highway (SH1).
Snow in South Island
Snow has fallen to sea level in Christchurch city but didn't settle. Meanwhile, snow had settled in the Port Hills.
The snow was causing disruption on a number of South Island highways throughout the day.
The following roads are currently closed:
• SH73 Arthurs Pass to Otira.
• SH7 Hanmer Turnoff to Springs Junction (Lewis Pass).
• SH73 Springfield to Castle Hill (Porters Pass).
• Dyers Pass Rd - closed between the Sign of the Takahe and Governors Bay Rd • • Summit Rd - closed between Gebbies Pass Rd and Dyers Pass Rd.
Waka Kotahi NZTA Canterbury said the routes will be reviewed at midday however the Arthur and Porters passes may remain closed into the afternoon as a caravan needs to be towed to establish two lanes of traffic.
Canterbury and Marlborough have been in the firing line for the snow with a large amount falling to 200m yesterday.
The wintry conditions have meant a late start for some schools, including St Hilda's Collegiate, Wakari School, Halfway Bush School, Dunedin North Intermediate, Waikouaiti School and Brockville School, the Otago Daily Times has repoted.
Roading contractors were out in Banks Peninsula at 8am. A council spokesperson says there was not much snow, but the ice is making driving dangerous.