Parched parts of New Zealand aren't expected to get a rainy reprieve any time soon, with the remnants of Cyclone Uesi looking likely to dodge the drought-hit north.

And, until the weekend at least, a ridge of high pressure over the country meant most places would continue to see dry, settled weather.

"There are some areas like Fiordland that might see some rain, but for most of the rest of the country, it will remain dry," MetService forecaster Andrew James said.

Vast swathes of the upper North Island are now in meteorological drought. Photo / Andrew Warner
Vast swathes of the upper North Island are now in meteorological drought. Photo / Andrew Warner

While there had been early hopes that Uesi might deliver some rain to the concrete-dry north early next week, most models now suggested the system, by then in a weakened state, would sweep by the south of the South Island.

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But forecasters stressed they couldn't be confident in picking its track out to that point - and things could well change.

"Looking into early next week, there are still quite a few things to happen between now and then, with what the track of this cyclone will be," James said.

"What we can say is that the system is heading toward or near New Caledonia over the course of this evening and tonight, and then tracks to the south."

Currently, models predicted the system – currently a Category 2 tropical storm - would move into the northern Tasman Sea, likely toward the end of this week.

"As we get closer to that time, we'll have a better idea of what it's doing."

Niwa forecaster Ben Noll said warm sea surface temperatures around the coast of eastern Australia could help the system to "convectively flourish" longer than it otherwise would.

"It would then track into the Tasman this weekend – so how close it gets to Australia is pretty important for us."

Noll said models pointed to the system travelling near the southern South Island – or below it – which wasn't ideal for rain-starved farmers in the north.

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But there was some potential for the system to leave behind some of its moisture after it passed by the country.

"A lot of the time with these systems, you can see some of the moisture – albeit at low levels – being kind of sheared out and left behind," Noll said.

"So when the system itself passes into the Southern Ocean, we have some interest in that potential.

"But still, I'd describe it as a bit hand-wavy at this point. It'll certainly be something to keep an eye on for the later part of this month."

Meanwhile, WeatherWatch.co.nz has predicted the possibility of an even bigger cyclone taking shape later this week to New Zealand's northeast.

The Far North has been among those places hardest hit by the ongoing dry spell. Photo / Pip Abernethy
The Far North has been among those places hardest hit by the ongoing dry spell. Photo / Pip Abernethy

WeatherWatch projected that storm would become a severe cyclone - given conditions for it to grow were looking favourable – and likely drift south over Tonga and lie north east of New Zealand next week.

Yet it picked that high pressure would keep dominating New Zealand – especially the North Island – acting as a protective bubble that may block rain into the North Island for at least another 12 days.

"This second cyclone may get close to New Zealand to the east - or it may track much further out to the east," WeatherWatch said.

"It is not expected to make a direct impact to New Zealand, other than affecting sea, marine and beach conditions."