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Did you know there are 4 different end dates to Winter?

When it comes to the end of Winter and the start of Spring, New Zealanders have the choice of four dates – and none are official.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed to us several years ago that the Government has no official preference on when the seasons change. MetService and NIWA talk about both the Astronomical and Meteorological dates to the seasons.

However there are really four different end dates to Winter – and you can take your pick as to which one you prefer to go by.

So, when does Winter end and Spring start? It all depends on what your definition of ‘winter’ is…

  • Astronomical Dates (winter starts on the shortest day, around June 21, spring therefore doesn’t start until the equinox on Sept 23 2002 – this is based on the earth’s rotation around the sun and not the weather here)
  • Meteorological Dates (winter starts on June 1, spring starts Sept 1)
  • Solar Winter (The 3 months/12 weeks of the year with the least amount of available sunlight with the shortest day of the year in the middle, meaning the Solar Winter runs from early May to early August).
  • Mother Nature – For 15 years now has said the reality is that New Zealand really does have a short 2 month summer and a short 2 month winter… the other 8 months are a long drawn out spring and autumn. We see the evidence of this and measure it in the form of animal life cycles, pollen, flowers, buds and grass growth, not to mention current weather patterns too.

Photo: @KeithPetrie



Colin on 31/08/2020 10:50pm

IMHO the seasons match the calendar; Jan, Feb Mar are Summer, Apr May Jun Autumn, July Aug Sep Winter and Oct Nov Dec Spring.

Though I can certainly see WW’s case for March being part of a 4 month Autumn and September being part of 4 month Spring

Frankie on 31/08/2020 11:18pm

You forgot to mention the season known, in Wellington at least, as “Shitsville”

Mrs Pitt on 4/03/2022 1:19am


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