The latest situation at 4.54pm: Much of the country is blanketed in snow, with flurries recorded as far north as Auckland, causing widespread disruption to business and ruining the travel plans of thousands.

In Christchurch, roads are closed, motorists have been stranded and community facilities like libraries and recreation centres are closed. Wind gusts of up to 65km/h downed powerlines. Hundreds of passengers are stranded at Christchurch airport and no planes have made it out of Queenstown . People have been skiing at the seaside in Sumner.

Snow has been falling in downtown Wellington for the first time in decades, while blizzard conditions descended on the central North Island. The Desert Road will remain closed for the day. SH4 through Taumaranui reopened this afternoon. Another afternoon front has brought the rare sight of snow flurries to suburbs around Auckland.

Federated Farmers is confident losses will be minimal as farmers were well-prepared . The South Island is expected to bear the brunt of the cold snap until Wednesday.

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Im in the geothermal wonderland that is Rotorua and its been snowing here as well.