'Thicker smoke' blows over Auckland, North Island, haze to last days

The effects of the devastating Australian bushfires continue to be felt in New Zealand with "thicker smoke" drifting over Auckland on Friday.

Striking red sunrises and sunsets shone over the City of Sails on Thursday as well as numerous other Kiwi towns after plumes of dark smoke blew over the Tasman sea. That created concerns for the health of Kiwis with respiratory problems.

It will continue on Friday, with MetService tweeting that "thicker smoke caught up in the front will be sweeping northwards over Auckland and Northland this morning".

"Finer particles higher in the atmosphere, in a more westerly flow than the SW at the surface, are still being blown towards the rest of NZ."

One person said on Twitter that they had seen a "very smokey sky/red sunrise before the frontal cloud arrived."

WeatherWatch says smoke will continue to be seen in New Zealand until at least Sunday, followed by a period of "windy, cooler, south-west weather".

"So better news for less smoke here, not so good news for those wanting true summer weather."

NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley said the "thick river of smoke" led there to be three to five times more smoke particles in the air than normal over the South Island on January 1 and 2.

"By the morning of the 2nd Jan the thickest part of this smoke ‘river’ had passed New Zealand and heading out into the Pacific," Dr Longley said.

However, particles do remain to be recorded at the top of the South Island. 

The front moving up the northern parts of the North Island will bring cloud, but not much rain. It should be followed by clearer skies and cool south-westerly winds, according to MetService.

Weatherwatch is also forecasting some morning cloud before a few sunny spells in Northland, the Bay of Plenty, and Wellington. These areas can expect warm days, hovering around the mid 20s.

It will be mostly sunny weather in Hawke's Bay and Gisborne with light winds. Top temperatures will be found in Napier and Hastings, each with 29C. 

In the south, WeatherWatch says most regions will also be covered by cloud with a few showers. The highs in these regions will be in the high teens to mid 20s.