A severe weather warning is in place around coastal parts of Southland, Clutha, Dunedin and the Canterbury high country from late this evening through to early tomorrow morning.
The MetService says a deep low passing to the south of the country will bring westerly gales to exposed parts of the South Island and the lower North Island.
It said gusts could reach about 140 kilometres an hour in the Canterbury high country.
Winds of that strength can damage trees and powerlines as well as unsecured structures.
The winds could also make driving conditions hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.