Ed Sheeran, fans ready for damp first Mt Smart gig

Ed Sheeran will hit the stage in Auckland on Saturday night for the first of his sold-out New Zealand shows.

He's been here five times before, but on Saturday afternoon for the first time the 27-year-old was welcomed with a pōwhiri.

We already know Ed Sheeran loves New Zealand - he has a Kiwi tattooed on his arm.  On Saturday it was our turn to show him the feeling is mutual.

He received an official ceremonial welcome, the significance not lost on the singing superstar.

"It's the first time I've experienced it and I wish I'd done it for the last few visits that I've done," he told Newshub.

"It was really cool."

Armed with nothing but his guitar and a loop pedal, Sheeran will soon be serenading fans at the first of his six Kiwi shows.

The 27-year-old sold a record-breaking 1 million tickets for his Australian and New Zealand tour, smashing the previous record held by Dire Straits for more than 30 years.

Much like Adele's concerts in Auckland this time in 2017, the weather is not looking great. But it's not deterring fans, many of whom have lined up outside the venue during the rainy Saturday afternoon.

MetService is predicting up to 10mm of rain could fall on Mt Smart between 6pm and 10pm on Saturday evening.