Stormy weather has unleashed tornadoes on parts of the country, cutting power to more than 12,000 Taranaki homes and rendering 11 homes uninhabitable in National Park.
Temperatures varied wildly around New Zealand on Tuesday - between 2 and 9C in the South Island and lower North Island, while the northern parts of the country got up to 23C.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand responded to several callouts in the Ruapehu and Taranaki districts after at least two tornadoes tore through.
A welfare centre has been set up in National Park, with four families rehomed and 11 houses deemed uninhabitable, says Ruapehu District Council chief executive Clive Manley.
Cordons are in place for limiting public access safety while homes are insecure - Urban Search & Rescue have carried out inspections of a number of damaged properties.
Some roads have been closed to limit road access to damaged areas. They are Carroll Street, Buddo Street and McKenzie Street.
Several trees that came down in the township are now cleared but debris remain a hazard.
Water is safe to drink, sewerage is operational.
Security cordons will remain in place overnight on Tuesday.
At least half a dozen houses lost their roofs in the Taranaki town of Rahotu and an emergency operation centre has been set up at Rahotu school, a Fire and Emergency spokeswoman said.
MetService reported 4500 lightning strikes lighting up the Taranaki sky within an hour early on Tuesday morning as the storms knocked out power to much of the district.
Rain lashed Taranaki, Wellington, Hawke's Bay and Auckland.
In Wellington, all Cook Strait ferry crossings were cancelled, ironically on the 50th anniversary of the Wahine disaster.
Boaties in Auckland have been warned to expect wind gusts of 110 km/h and Civil Defence in the city is telling people to secure loose items in their backyards and balconies, and bring pets inside.
Heavy snow warnings are in place for much of the country's southern highways including Arthurs Pass, Lewis Pass, Lindis Pass, Haast Pass, Crown Range Road, Milford Road, and the Dunedin to Waitati Highway.
The Napier-Taupo Road and the Desert Road are also affected.
Overnight, a blanket of more than 75cm of snow fell in much of the Canterbury plains and Mackenzie High Country, sending temperatures plummeting.
The southerly blast is expected to carry on into Wednesday, bringing rain or showers for most regions, except for the West Coast and Nelson. Snow in the South Island will likely lift during the day, according to WeatherWatch, but there will be frosts inland in South Island.