Dramatic cloud blots out sun over New Zealand

A giant cloud is lurking overhead, blocking out the sun over central New Zealand on Wednesday.

"A big stunning white cloud is draped over Aotearoa today but it's running sideways across the country not North to South," Weather Watch says.

"The rising sun and the thick cloud over central New Zealand is creating a stunning shadow and line of cloud."

The cloud cover was captured by the Himawari satellite and posted to the Weather Watch and MetService twitter accounts.

It's led to some stunning photos as early-bird Kiwis snapped the sunrise.

But there's bad news, as the cloud brings wet weather to the North Island.

"The cloud is caused by a front which has detached itself from a low in the Southern Ocean and will fall apart over the North Island across the next 36 to 48 hours," Weather Watch says.

"This means showers, patchy rain and even the odd isolated heavy downpour may affect some western, central and northern parts of the North Island over the next couple of days.

A few showers will remain on Thursday evening in both islands as people head away for the long weekend but about 80 percent of the country is looking mostly dry this weekend."