Residents of New Zealand's capital city Wellington are taking delight in the unusual sight of snowflakes falling in what forecasters are describing as a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Services across the country were disrupted Monday by the snowfalls, which were accompanied by heavy rain and high winds. Mail delivery in many centres was cancelled, as were some flights. Some roads were closed and recreational facilities such as libraries and swimming pools were shut in many centres.

Wellington rarely gets snow — the accumulation it got Sunday and Monday is the most in at least 30 years — and so people are taking to the streets with cameras and cheers.

The cold weather also blew farther north to the country's largest city, Auckland. Local media reported it was the first time snow fell in the city's downtown in 72 years.

Forecasters are predicting the cold snap to continue through Wednesday.

With files from CBC News