Wellington is defying predictions of dismal Christmas Day weather, with the city waking up to a fine, warm morning.
The good news is that the hot weather should last most of the day, with a southerly change not due till around 9pm.
Last week forecasters had predicted no one would escape rain and showers this Christmas.
That seemed true last night as rain and winds of up 110kmh lashed the capital.
However, the front blew through, and today dawned fine and clear.
People were already hitting the beaches while some joggers were pounding the pavement ahead of a big Christmas lunch.
Severe weather warnings were lifted today as the winds and heavy rain in the Tararua Ranges eased.
Today's weather was affected by a more westerly flow than expected, MetService duty forecaster Mike O'Connor said.
''When it turns westerly Wellington is actually quite sheltered by the South Island.''
A southerly change was due to hit later this evening, he said.
In Taupo, a cloudy morning greeted holiday makers, with a high of 19 expected.
In Napier, high cloud is expected to peel off later today, with a high of 26.
Rain is forecast to continue for most in the day in Auckland with temperatures reaching a high of 22 degrees.
Wet weather is also the dominant weather prediction for the south island.
Wellington has an unlikely tradition of good weather on Christmas Day.
It's had the hottest Christmas Day of the six main centres in the past 10 years, despite being known for its irascible climate.
The capital hit 28.6C last year, according to Niwa climate scientists.
- © Fairfax NZ News