Weather: Sunny start to weekend in New Zealand ahead of surge of wind, heavy rain

A spell of settled weather is on the way for parts of New Zealand ahead of a surge of gale-force winds and heavy rain later in the weekend.

Saturday and most of Sunday sees a large high settling over the country, bringing mostly sunny weather before a frontal system brings potentially severe weather.

"Those who've been eager to get out and about in the sunshine may yet get their chance," says MetService meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane.

"People on homeward journeys back from school holiday getaways [on Sunday] should be largely unaffected by weather."

But Sunday is a completely different story as unsettled conditions make landfall here from Australia. The weather then will be characterised by intense winds and downpours.

Makgabutlane says while it's not great news after wild conditions wreaked havoc in the South Island last week, it isn't expected to be as bad.

"Although places that experienced flooding last weekend - such as Buller, Nelson, and Marlborough - will receive a fresh dose of heavy rain, accumulations are not expected to  be as large as what was seen with that system."

Weather Watch says it's not just rain to keep an eye out for - it's gale-force winds too.

Head forecaster Philip Duncan warns of gusts to 90km/h on the weekend, with some getting up to 110km/h through the more mountainous areas.

"It's a blustery day with northerlies turning westerly later on," he said.

On Wednesday, Weather Watch warned an active rain band is expected to make landfall on Sunday before pushing into the likes of Nelson and Marlborough, where some rainfall totals could exceed 100mm.

It comes just days after a state of emergency was declared in Buller and Marlborough, with hundreds of people evacuated following heavy rain and floods.

Dead cattle were found washed up on West Coast beaches, while multiple slips caused traffic delays in Wellington and homes were damaged by rising waters.

On Thursday, Duncan said while it's concerning heavy rain is returning to areas that have already been inundated with bad weather, the downpours will take place over a period of three days, Sunday to Tuesday.

"It's not all falling at one time," he said.

"I think with the saturated soil, more slips or road closures and problems are more likely than flooding. Any potential floods are more likely to be surface flooding or water on the roads."