A new report measuring soil moisture shows many regions in the North Island and some parts of Canterbury are experiencing pre-drought conditions.
NIWA's weekly soil moisture report assesses severely to extremely dry conditions.
Regions experiencing these soil moisture deficits are deemed 'hotspots' with persistent hotspot regions having the potential to develop into drought.
In the latest report, NIWA said rainfall of generally less than 5 mm during the past week in the North Island has led to notable soil moisture decreases for nearly all locations and expansion of existing hotspot coverage.
The largest decreases were in the Far North as well as central areas from Taranaki eastward to Hawke's Bay.
"The driest soils across the North Island, when compared to normal for this time of the year, are found in the Far North and northern Waikato, while the wettest soils for this time of the year are located in western Bay of Plenty and Kapiti Coast," said the report.
A very large hotspot now covers nearly all of Northland, Auckland, northern Waikato, and the Coromandel Peninsula.
Additional hotspots are in place across most of Wairarapa, East Cape, and central Manawatu-Whanganui.
Across the South Island this past week, minor to moderate drying of soils occurred in northern areas, while the lower South Island observed minor soil moisture increases.
"The driest soils across the South Island compared to normal for this time of the year are located in coastal Hurunui District, while the wettest soils for this time of the year include Stewart Island and a region extending from Dunedin to Invercargill."
The only official hotspot in the South Island was in coastal Hurunui District, although much of northern and central Canterbury was nearing hotspot status.
It predicted another dry week for the North Island with consistently high pressure meaning very little rainfall for nearly all locations.
"With minimal rainfall expected in the North Island during the next week, widespread soil moisture decreases are expected to continue. Existing hotspots are anticipated to strengthen and expand, and new hotspots will most likely emerge across Hawke's Bay and Gisborne."
In the South Island, rainfall was forecast for the West Coast this weekend, however, little if any of the rain is expected to reach the eastern South Island.
"Minimal rainfall amounts are expected in the eastern South Island during the next week, which means new hotspots may emerge across much of northern and central Canterbury, and perhaps eastern Marlborough as well."