The MetService is optimistic the Christmas weekend will be mostly settled, notwithstanding bad weather in the leadup to Christmas Day.
Heavy rain is expected in the west from Mt Taranaki to Fiordland between now and Wednesday.
North-west gales are forecast from Southland to Wairarapa with severe northerly gales expected to hit Wellington on Tuesday.
MetService's Bob McDavitt says another front is expected on Christmas Eve, followed by a south-west change that should help to clear the weather for Christmas Day.
Mr McDavitt says the northerly and frontal rain bands will probably return next week.