One man is dead while hundreds of commuters suffered disruptions in New Zealand's capital Wellington after heavy rainfall caused flooding and mudslides across the region.

Crews struggled to clear highways Thursday and the city's train services were shut down, causing long delays for many.

Wellington's Mayor Celia Wade-Brown urged people to find alternative accommodation in the city for the night rather than trying to make it home and even opened the downtown library for those who wanted to stay.

Police said they found the body of an 80-year-old man in Petone near Wellington in floodwater near his abandoned car, which was partially submerged with the keys in the ignition.

Several areas around Wellington recorded rainfall of over 10 centimeters (4 inches) Thursday.

The region is home to about 450,000 people.