While Bay of Plenty holidaymakers had planned to bask in hot temperatures today,they will instead have to make do with a slightly cooler day and a foggy haze.
The soft orange-tinted light and fog is a result of the Australian bush fire crisis and a front that's pushing the smoke across the country.
Parts of Australia are an inferno as the death toll from the fires has risen to 18.
The smokey haze from the fires hit the South Island yesterday and is moving across the North Island today.
MetService said the Bay of Plenty and the rest of New Zealand should be clear again by tomorrow. Rotorua was to reach 28C today, Tauranga 29C and Whakatane 30C but meteorologist Tahlia Crabtree said it was doubtful today would get to the forecast temperatures as the sun wasn't able to burn through the haze and heat the ground.
"It will clear out tomorrow and we will get a southwest flow coming through and it will be nice and clear behind the front."
She explained why the light was different.
"Particles from the smoke distort the light at the blue end of the spectrum. Instead of seeing all the blue you get the red-orange tint and that is accentuating the sun. The smoke is acting like a cloud essentially and scattering the light, making the sun look redder."
Locals have taken to social media to post photos of the sun, while expressing their sympathy for our Australian neighbours.
Rotorua woman Jacky James posted on Facebook: "Australian smoke sun glowing unbelievably red through our neighbouring eucalyptus tree this morning - and it's extremely cold - smoke blocking the heat from the sun maybe? Thinking of our ANZAC neighbours today - as they have thought of us in 2019. Kia kaha".
Pyes Pa resident Laurie Sanders sent in a photograph of a red sun this morning.
"Just putting the rubbish out this morning when I saw the rising sun. Colour is from the Aussie bush fires in Victoria – a tragedy in the making still with Mallacoota being threatened by the fires and 4000 people sheltering on the beach in the thick smoke," Sanders said.
The rescue effort is moving up a gear today as holidaymakers are huddled on the beaches, whole towns devoured and homes destroyed as the worst bush fire on record rages.
Hazy sunrises for the North Island today! The main band of smoke has moved north from yesterday, while another band of smoke lingers over the South Island. ^Tahlia pic.twitter.com/eafnnsu89q— MetService (@MetService) January 1, 2020
The Australian Defence Force and emergency services in Victoria are preparing to evacuate people stranded in the beachside town of Mallacoota in East Gippsland.
With around 4000 people stranded on Mallacoota Beach, most of them tourists, the 16-tonne HMAS Choules has been sent to the area with the possibility of beginning to evacuate people by sea.
It has the capacity to evacuate 1000 people at a time and was expected to arrive by midday today.