More than 1000 without power as storm lashes North Island

More than 1000 properties are without power across Rotorua and Taupo as a strong winter storm lashes the North Island.

The power outage is affecting more than 800 properties in Rotorua and another 300 in Taupo, with trees coming down on the lines.

The wild weather has also reportedly caused large trees to fall in Auckland. Vector says affected an unknown number of people in St Heliers. It has since been restored.

The region was hammered with rain during rush-hour traffic on Thursday, making it a slow trip for commuters.

MetService has issued a significant storm warning for most parts of the country.

Overnight winds of up to 100kn/h are expected in Auckland. In the Bay of Plenty, gales could reach up to 120km/h.

On Friday, snow and heavy rain are expected in eastern parts of the South Island. The heaviest rain is expected between Christchurch and Dunedin.