Officials are warning residents to "change their Easter travel plans if necessary"
States of emergency have been declared along parts of New Zealand's coast, where a second major storm in two weeks is due to make landfall.
Cyclone Cook has already killed one person in the southern Pacific islands of New Caledonia.
It is due to hit New Zealand's North Island later today, with wind gusts of more than 150 km/h possible.
The New Zealand Herald reports that some coastal homes have been evacuated.
The country's ministry of civil defence says states of local emergency have been declared in the Bay of Plenty region and Thames-Coromandel district.
Officials are warning of 'major impacts' in those areas, with heavy rain and 'damaging to destructive winds' leading to hazardous driving conditions.
The ministry said: "This is an extremely serious weather event. People need to be ready and change their Easter travel plans if necessary.
"Put safety first. Don’t take any chances."
Other weather warnings are in place across the North Island, including for the cities of Auckland and Wellington. The cyclone is forecast to move towards parts of the South Island on Friday.
Meteorologist Arno Dyason: "Cyclone Cook's arrival in New Zealand is a very significant event due to the severity of the storm and people are advised to take extreme care.
"People should prepare for the possibility of flooding, landslips, wind damage to powerlines, property and large trees."