A number of Christchurch roads have been closed after the Heathcote River burst its banks and water surged through, news reports say.
According to TVNZ, at least 35 people have been evacuated at the small settlement of Little River near Christchurch following the heaviest rainfall in the area in more than a year.
Police say they have been getting a steady run of calls reporting severe situations such as water reaching up to car doors in some areas.
The New Zealand Herald quotes residents as saying that the Avon has broken its banks around the Gayhurst Road Bridge in Dallington and the most they can do at the moment is traffic management in danger areas.
There is also flooding and slips on roads around Akaroa.