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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 is 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.

On Saturday we wrote a detailed story about the current set up around New Zealand and why we seem to be entering into an early spring – but to beware the lurking winter conditions that still remain nearby. We also mention in that story that it was this week back in 2011 that saw a historical snow event hit New Zealand with snow in our 4 largest cities including Auckland.

Below is an excerpt from that Saturday story about the switch-over from winter to spring.

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 around Sept 21 – 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 – and it’s just finished here in the Southern Hemisphere for 2017).
  • Mother Nature – The reality is that New Zealand really does have a short 2 month summer and a short 2 month winter in’s view… 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.


– Image / Christchurch City yesterday (Saturday), Photo by NewstalkZB host Chris Lynch.



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