Weather: 'Unseasonable' snow and 'severe' drought hit New Zealand

Two new regions have been declared drought affected on Tuesday - Nelson and far western Marlborough.

The weekend may have brought a little rain to some parts of the country but not enough to relieve the drought in the upper South Island.

Drought has been declared in Nelson and far western Marlborough, to add to that already in Buller District, Tasman, Taranaki and the far north.

Pockets of Tasman are described as severe, and as a result some growers are already cutting their losses.

Julian Raines grows boysenberries, apples and gold kiwifruit, and the drought is hitting him hard.

"We've lost size in our fruit and we're making decisions, based on the return, which crop we water and which we don't," Julian Raine, an orchardist in Waimea Plains.

Some are taking drastic measures, taking land out of production or hoeing vegetables in because they don't have enough water to keep them going.

"The financial cost will really come in fruit size and not meeting expected yields, through to implications for return bloom next year," Mr Raine says.

The critical water shortage continues in Tasman, with most outdoor water use prohibited and a call for a 25 percent cut in use by businesses. And the forecast into March offers little hope, with summer-like conditions returning for many areas.

Further down the South Island Christchurch also had a dry hot summer - but a recent cold blast has prompted the arrival of an unexpected winter activity.

It's the end of February and Mt Hutt is covered top to toe in snow. In fact this is so unseasonal it's hard to figure out the date.

Workers are now out grooming the large drifts because the mountain has an open day this Saturday. It was planned for months but skiing wasn't originally on the menu.

So if any public want to head to Mt Hutt this Saturday, the field will be open with snow.