Latest data shows more parts of the country are drying out.
NIWA's weekly soil moisture report assesses severely to extremely dry conditions.
- Extreme weather trends put pressure on farmers to be prepared
- NIWA's 2018 weather report shows record 'extreme temperatures'
Regions experiencing these soil moisture deficits are deemed 'hotspots' with persistent hotspot regions having the potential to develop into drought.
The latest report said across the North Island, soil moisture levels generally decreased in the west, north and south during the past week, while soil moisture increases were observed around the Central Plateau eastbound to Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.
The driest soils across the North Island compared to normal for this time of the year are found in parts of Northland, coastal Waikato and around New Plymouth, while the wettest soils for this time of the year are located in East Cape and a portion of Hastings.
NIWA said the previous hotspot in the Far North dissipated around the Aupouri Peninsula in the past week, but has spread south into northern Whangarei and Kaipara districts.
Another small hotspot developed in coastal Waikato, west of Hamilton.
Meanwhile the report said across the South Island, soil moisture levels generally decreased slightly in the past week, although small soil moisture improvements were observed in coastal Fiordland, lower coastal West Coast, around Invercargill and Stewart Island.
The driest soils across the South Island compared to normal for this time of the year are found in northwestern Tasman, while the wettest soils for this time of the year are found near Kaikoura and north coastal Otago.
The previous hotspot across Nelson remains to the east of Nelson city and in nearby portions of Tasman.
While some parts of the country can expect some relief, the report said total rainfall over the next seven days is expected to stay below normal for this time of year in the east and far north while the west and south will see rainfall amounts above normal.
Due to the expected rainfall, soil moisture levels are expected to increase in the West Coast, slightly increase or remain constant in the far south, and decrease elsewhere.