Widespread warnings as weather chaos threatens New Zealand

New Zealand is in for a wet and windy ride over the next few days, as different pressure systems prepare to hammer the country.

A cyclone, two Southern Ocean lows and two big highs are all moving into position, with warnings of severe gales and heavy rain.

"The next five days ahead are busy with a short lived tropical cyclone named Linda to New Zealand's north west, two storms in the Southern Ocean and two large highs crossing both islands," Weather Watch says.

"A storm in the Southern Ocean is going to brush the country bringing heavy rain and thunderstorms to the West Coast (especially the southern half) and some spillover into Southland over the next day or two.

"Winds will become strong from the west to north west through the Southern Alps, Canterbury high country and up towards Cook Strait and Wellington. Gales are likely in the most exposed areas through the mountains."

MetService has issued a severe weather watch for parts of the South Island.

"The front delivers a period of heavy northwesterly rain into southern Westland and Fiordland on Thursday, with significant spillover into the headwaters of the Canterbury lakes and rivers," it says.

"In addition, strong northwesterlies are expected ahead of the front, with severe gales possible in exposed parts of Canterbury, Otago and Southland from Thursday evening until the early hours of Friday morning."