Residents in two areas of Gisborne may be evacuated if the heavy rain continues.
Civil Defence has been activated in the region after around 200 millimetres of rain fell in the Tolaga Bay and Tokomaru Bay areas in the past 24 hours, causing slips, surface flooding and bringing down trees.
Controller Jon Davies says three families north of Tolaga Bay were warned about the rising river last night, but chose to monitor the river themselves. He says further warnings may be put out later today, suggesting residents in Tolaga Bay or Te Karaka, northwest of Gisborne, leave their homes if they do not want to become isolated. However Mr Davies says a considerable amount of rain would be needed in the next few hours for that to happen.
Civil Defence is advising motorists to take care on the roads and drive carefully in the current weather conditions. Gisborne city has been relatively unaffected by the heavy rain.