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Nearby time zone differences that may surprise you, eg the Chatham Islands is 45mins ahead of mainland NZ

In our part of the world we have to monitor the weather in several different nations and some – including New Zealand – have time zones you may not expect.

We tend to think of other places as plus or minus X number of hours from the time where we are based. But the Chatham Islands is 45 minutes ahead of the North and South Islands. So at 12noon in Wellington, it’s 12:45 at Waitangi on the Chathams.

Samoa is one hour ahead of New Zealand but American Samoa (which is right next door), shares the exact same time as Samoa but is a full day behind. So at 12noon Thursday in Samoa, it’s 12noon Wednesday in American Samoa….70kms away to the east. Put another way, Samoa is 1 hour ahead of NZ and American Samoa is 23 hours behind.

Going west to Australia and you’ll find central areas in both the north and south have a 30 minute difference. For example when it’s 2pm in New Zealand in winter it’s 12 noon in Melbourne, but a 30 minute difference between the states of Victoria and South Australia means it’s only 11:30am in Adelaide.  Darwin is the same – it’s 30 minutes behind Sydney at this time of year and Sydney is 2 hours behind Auckland.

While NZ shares the same time zone as Fiji, New Caledonia (France) just to the west is one hour behind NZ…and one hour ahead of Sydney. 

Norfolk Island (Australia) is located nearby to NZ (just 700kms north west of Cape Reinga) but they are 1 hour behind NZ, just like New Caledonia and Vanuatu are.

To make life easier for weather forecasters you’ll notice a lot of weather maps have UTC timing on them (see the map below). This is Universal Time and is the scientific standard all time is based on. For NZ you simply ADD 12 hours to UTC when you see it on maps, to convert it to NZ time (and during Daylight Saving time over summer you add 13 hours)…and of course, now we know that if you live on the Chatham Islands you need to add 12 hours plus an additional 45 minutes to convert to local time. New Zealand’s a little bigger than you may have thought.


– Image /

– By head forecaster Philip Duncan,


marianne on 11/05/2022 7:38am

So people in American Samoa are younger than the Samoans!

Zelda on 9/05/2019 4:44am

A very interesting story from Philip!

WW Forecast Team on 10/05/2019 2:31am

Thanks very much Zelda 🙂 


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