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.

NZ extreme weather

Ranging from the hottest to the coldest, the wettest to the driest, the windiest to the sunniest, the following are records that stand through to the present day…


Feb 7 1973

Rangiora in Canterbury and Jordan in Marlborough hit the record national high of 42.4 degrees . On the same day, Ruatoria had the North Islands hottest temperature of 39.2 degrees.


July 3 1995

Ophir in Central Otago recorded the national low of -21.6 degrees. 


January 1994

Over a 24 hour period , Colliers Creek ( in the South Island West Coast region) had a deluge of 682mm ( more than what Christchurch usually receives in a calendar year!)



Over a 12 month period, Alexandra recorded just 167mm during a very long dry spell.


April 1970

Mt John Observatory is home to New Zealand’s highest recorded wind gust of 250kph. 



Nelson had the sunniest year on record for the country of 2711 hours. Napier has the honour of taking the North Islands highest sunshine tally, which was just last decade during 1994, at 2588 hours.

Interesting to note, that all records outlined above have been recorded in the South Island.


R Wood on 16/03/2009 7:08pm

Oteranga Bay’s instrument was not considered to be “sound” at the time. However, it is nevertheless very likely that windpseeds there did exceed 260kph.

That swipe about “during global warming” can’t be allowed to pass. The 2 warmest years in the NZ record were 1998 and 1999, and 2005 was 4th warmest. In addition, Feb 1998 was the hottest month, by a margin of 0.6C over the 2nd warmest.

If you want to extend the list, it’s not hard to find NZ records coming from the North Island. 109mm rainfall in 1 hour at Leigh, May 2001. And of course the record high mean monthly temperature. A less desirable one is the lowest amount of sunshine recorded in any month.

Graham on 16/03/2009 6:12am

In a few places I’ve read that Oteranga Bay, west of Wellington, recorded 268km/h in the Waitangi storm. Is this not considered an official reading?

WW Forecast Team on 16/03/2009 7:13am

Hi Graham,

I’ve heard it was 276km/h!  I wonder if that reading was "unofficial" which is why it hasn’t appeared in our story today.  I’ll look into it for you.


Philip Duncan.

EDIT:  Yep, apparently it was unofficial.  Officially it was around 230/240km/h.  Still amazing!   This is why I like unofficial readings – they often give us amazing figures as they’re usually placed in areas prone to extreme conditions (often where people live too) – not open wide spaces like airports.  So we get more extreme readings from places in valleys and near hills.


Dave on 16/03/2009 2:21am

Hi Boys

Isn’t it interesting that none of these records have happened during “global warming” when all of the pundits say more extremes can be expected.


WW Forecast Team on 16/03/2009 7:46am

 Dead right Dave and a number of records are quite a few decades/years ago too!

Richard Green

Related Articles