Your web browser (Internet Explorer) is out of date. Some things will not look right and things might not work properly. Please download an up-to-date and free browser from here.

NIWA to provide rain maps to WeatherWatch in 2014

Several months of negotiations have led to a positive outcome for the New Zealand public – NIWA is going to free up their rain maps for readers.

In a step that says is “extremely encouraging” the public weather sector in New Zealand has finally proactively reached out to us after years of MetService refusing to. NIWA is significantly larger than MetService and this year opened up public forecasting services.

NIWA says the offer was made to “assist provide more accurate weather forecasts for the benefit of the NewZealand public”.

NIWA’s CEO John Morgan had high praise for’s communication skills when we met at their Auckland head office in winter, which came as a pleasant surprise for us here at WeatherWatch. 

The deal will include 2 and 6 day forecast rain maps using the NIWA super computer and will be available on our website in the early months of 2014. 

Since 2005, when first got off the ground, it was our mission to work with the public forecasting sector – but we had one condition: It had to be a two way street.  However this year two significant changes happened.  In March the NZ Govt, via the Ministry for Primary Industries, hired for rain reports during the drought – despite the Govt owning both MetService and NIWA.  This was a massive endorsement of our unique skills and services. is excited to be working closer with NIWA in 2014 – but it’s important to note we will remain 100% indepdendent of them .  NIWA even encouraged us to remain an independent voice – which we hugely appreciate, as being independent serves the public best.  We hope in the future we will be able to use other NIWA products in new areas, but it’s taken us several years to reach this point – so time is clearly our friend.

The team at Weathermap/MetOcean will also remain on our website in 2014 – giving readers two options for rain maps – one from a mostly private firm the other from NIWA’s super computer.  A third rain map option is currently being explored too, for 2014. head weather analyst Philip Duncan says “Our future lies in being an independent forecaster, sharing the best data available and keeping the now two Govt forecasters honest with your tax dollars.  Ultimately we want to lift New Zealand’s weather forecasting abailities to that of most other western nations – the fact that NIWA wants to work with us is a big positive step in this direction and we thank NIWA for being reasonable and open to discussion” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan. 



Guest on 19/12/2013 5:39am

Are NIWA doing a media release about this?  I checked their website and didn’t see anything yet.  Cheers.

WW Forecast Team on 19/12/2013 8:48am

Hi there – no idea sorry, probably not as they were aware we were going to make a public statement. NIWA retweeted this story on their Twitter account yesterday, as endorsement of the statement.


Guest on 20/12/2013 5:35am

That’s a shame though after months of negotiation. A joint announcement would be nice.  What are NIWA getting out of the arrangement (two way street)?



WW Forecast Team on 26/12/2013 7:18am

Hi there – this is simply about freeing up this service to the public as the public have invested a lot of money into their supercomputer. We have been campaigning for years for our two weather agencies to free up more data to match other western nations like the US, Aussie and Canada. This is the first step in that direction and NIWA is cautious about their approach – this is new territory for them. MetService has been around for a very long time with no real competition – having a monopoly means they have had no need to proactively work with us. NIWA is new to the market and our support will certainly mean they get something in return – publicity.  We hope MetService see the value in working with us at some point – especially in the area of weather warnings, but at the moment they still see no need.  We also want the NZ public to have better high res rain radar access – now that MetService is making record profits we think the least they can do is give this back to the public at no cost (the public invests many millions a year into MetService and they refuse to break down where exactly that money goes – and, for example, if any goes into the radar network). It’s also an essential public safety tool that Civil Defence supports fully freeing up as it can save lives when people can see where specific storms are tracking – as is extensively done overseas. So we’re going to continue working to do this in 2014 with the support of more people and businesses who are now offering to back us.  We are really pleased that NIWA is wanting to work with us – and we hope if this trial goes well they will give even more data back to the public. 



Guest on 18/12/2013 6:03am

Don’t  MS own a large chunk of MetOcean?



WW Forecast Team on 18/12/2013 9:37am

Yip – I believe MetService bought 49% of them back in winter but from what I hear they are a mainly silent partner, ie, it’s still the same team at MetOcean running things.


View more comments

Related Articles