Latest soil data shows some parts of the country have felt the benefit of recent rain, however many regions are still experiencing tinder-dry conditions.
NIWA's weekly soil moisture report assesses severely to extremely dry conditions.
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Regions experiencing these soil moisture deficits are deemed 'hotspots', with persistent hotspot regions having the potential to develop into drought.
In the latest report, the North Island from Wellington-Wairarapa to the lower Waikato saw soil moisture levels increased over the past week from due to beneficial rainfall.
In the north and east of the North Island, soil moisture levels generally remained the same.
It said the driest soils for the time of year are found across the northern Waikato and Bay of Plenty. The wettest soils for the time of year are located in Gisborne, Central Hawke's Bay, and Wellington-Wairarapa.
The report said in the South Island, soil moisture levels are similar to this time last week.
The driest soils for the time of year are across the Buller and Tasman District as well as Nelson, where the Ministry for Primary Industries recently classified the combination of impacts of fire and drought as a medium-scale adverse event.
The wettest soils for the time of year are now located in northeast Marlborough.
Hotspots are located in Northland, Auckland, northern and central Waikato, central and western Bay of Plenty, South Taranaki, central and southern Manawatu-Wanganui, and northern Hawke's Bay in the North Island and in the Buller District, Tasman District, Nelson, western Marlborough, southern Otago, and central Southland.
NIWA said there was some slight relief in sight for some areas.
It said a slow-moving weather pattern with moist, northerly air flows near New Zealand will most likely cause normal or above normal rainfall across the central and northern South Island and western North Island over the next week.
This may result in appreciable increases in soil moisture.
It said for the central and northern South Island, soil moisture levels are most likely to increase over the next week.
Levels in the lower South Island may remain the same or decrease slightly.