Several wind warnings have this morning been issued by the government weather forecaster predicting winds will reach severe gale at times in exposed South Island areas.
The warnings predict gusts as high as 130km/h for Canterbury, Otago and Southland including exposed parts of Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.
The winds are expected to peak on Saturday between 3am and 11am from Dunedin southwards and between 5am and 1pm for regions further north, according to the MetService warnings.
Head weather analyst at WeatherWatch.co.nz, Philip Duncan, says gales will also affect Cook Strait and Wellington but it was unclear if the winds would be strong enough to cause any ferry delays.
Mr Duncan says flights across the South Island and lower North Island would be “bumpy” on Saturday with more turbulence.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says the strong winds will help fan high temperatures in the east with Hawkes Bay and Gisborne expected to reach 30 degrees tomorrow.