Cyclone Lusi is expected to hit the northern part of the country on Saturday or early Sunday and move south over central New Zealand, affecting people from Northland down to Canterbury.
People should prepare for a dangerous storm including heavy rain, gale force winds, large coastal waves and storm surges, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management says.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty about the eventual track of the cyclone, but there’s a strong likelihood that northern areas will experience severe weather, MetService says.
The cyclone is currently just east of Vanuatu and is close to becoming a category three system with winds from 119-157km/h.
The ministry’s director, John Hamilton, said people should stay up to date with forecasts and weather warnings, and prepare properties for high winds.