Rainfall was up to 80% lower than the average for March in some parts of the North Island, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says.
During last month the entire North Island was declared a drought zone, along with the Buller and Grey districts on the West Coast.
NIWA says about 20% of the average rainfall for March was recorded in Northland, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay; while the rest of the North Island and the South Island's West Coast had less than 60% of the average monthly rain.
NIWA principal scientist Brett Mullan says almost everywhere in the country was hotter and drier during March.
Dr Mullan says it was very dry in the northern two thirds of the North Island, about a degree warmer than normal over a lot of the North Island and sunshine was very high in the North Island and the West Coast.
He says from Northland to Hawke's Bay, as well as Marlborough and Canterbury, the ground is extremely dry.