Weather: 'Big blast' heading towards weekend

New Zealand is in for a blast of bad weather this weekend as the country becomes trapped in a "squash zone" of air pressure. says high pressure will remain to the north of the country while deep air pressure remains around the Southern Ocean, putting New Zealand directly in the danger zone.

"A blast of gale to severe gale westerlies moves in along with heavy, slow moving, rain on the West Coast," Weather Watch warns.

"The west to north-west winds will peak on Saturday PM nationwide and continue across the South Island and lower North Island on Sunday."

MetService warns there will be significant weather warnings and impacts across much of the country. Severe weather warnings and watches are already being issued ahead of the event.

"This is a significant wind and rain event, contrasting greatly with the calmer weather experienced over the past few weeks," says MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes.

Strong winds are set to spread north across New Zealand, expected to become severe across inland South Island and the lower North Island from Friday into Saturday.

Heavy rain is also expected for western South Island, with wet conditions also expected further north.

"Wind will be the dominant element of this weekend's weather," says Ms McInnes, "while the wet weather does affect much of the country, the strong winds are what provide the greatest and most widespread risk."