Weather: Swathes of New Zealand to bask in sunshine but it's not expected to last

Kiwis should make the most of the fine and warm weather expected over the majority of New Zealand on Thursday because according to MetService, it's not going to last.   

A front is expected to move across Fiordland and onto New Zealand on Thursday afternoon and evening, bringing rain to large parts of the country on Friday.  

But for Thursday, most places should experience a fine day, with many areas recording balmy overnight temperatures.  

MetService said Whakatāne, South Wairarapa and Great Mercury Island off the coast of the Coromandel Peninsula were the warmest places overnight, all recording 19C.  

Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay, Marsden Point and Auckland's Bastion Point all weren't far behind on 18C. 

Most places around the country have seen temperatures in the low-to-mid-twenties on Thursday.

Napier should be the hot spot with a high of 28C, with Blenheim not far behind on 27C, and Christchurch nipping at their heels on 26C.  

But the weather is set to turn on Friday, with most areas expected to see some showers or even heavy rain as the front moves over the country. 

This has seen a heavy rain watch issued for Fiordland from 11am on Thursday until midnight, with MetService warning the area could see a period of heavy rain which could approach warning criteria.   

NIWA said winds in the South Island are forecasted to change from northwest to southwest on Thursday evening and Friday, bringing a drop in temperatures.  

This is highlighted by Christchurch dropping from an expected 26C on Thursday to 18C on Friday. It's similar in Invercargill, with the temperature expected to hit 22C on Thursday before dwindling to just 15C on Friday. Dunedin is also expected to see a decrease in temperature, going from 23C on Thursday to just 15C on Friday.  

Looking ahead to the weekend, MetService says there is minimal risk of severe weather, but a trough is expected to move eastwards across central and northern New Zealand on Saturday. 

It could bring showers and localised heavy rain with the chance of thunderstorms, while the South Island should see fine weather as a ridge of high pressure builds over the island.

MetService's short forecast for Thursday: 

Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Taupo, also Gisborne and Hawke's Bay

Partly cloudy. Isolated showers, becoming widespread and possibly heavy tomorrow afternoon and evening.

The remainder of the North Island

Partly cloudy today with isolated showers from Horowhenua to Wellington. Cloud increasing tomorrow with scattered rain developing.

Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury

Generally fine today with high cloud. Cloudy tomorrow with rain at times.

Buller and Westland

Rain spreading north this evening and overnight. Rain clearing from Westland tomorrow evening.

Otago, except Clutha

Mostly cloudy. Scattered rain developing this evening, clearing tomorrow morning but isolated showers lingering in the east.

Clutha, Southland and Fiordland

Rain in Fiordland and Stewart Island, possibly heavy, spreading elsewhere this afternoon and evening, then easing to isolated showers tonight.

Chatham Islands

Cloudy periods. Occasional rain from tomorrow afternoon.