Southern Hemisphere's largest St Patrick's Day parade takes place in Auckland

It was a sea of green on Auckland's Queen St today for Australasia's largest St Patrick's Day parade.

Thousands lined the street on Sunday to watch dancers, Gaelic footballers and leprechauns celebrate all things Irish.

"We have about 500 participants, 50 floats and up to 20,000 people here on Queen St today," St Patrick's Festival Trust chairman Russell O'Brien told Newshub.

Among the participants was Irish cabinet minister Jack Chambers who flew in for the festivities.

"In New Zealand, one in six people have a connection to Ireland so that's why it's a really important country for us to celebrate St Patrick's Day," Chambers told Newshub.

The parade featured a float dedicated to famous Irish musicians including the late Sinead O'Connor.

One man who was dressed as a leprechaun told Newshub the parade was "lots of fun" and "good craic". Craic is Irish for a really good time.

Following the parade, the party continued at Auckland's Irish Club where revellers enjoyed the traditional Irish beverage of Guinness.

University students in Dunedin also got into the action with a number of parties taking place.

Police say they had communicated with students and organisers and will be maintaining a presence over the course of the day.