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Polar blasts and a look at our past

Over the decades there have been numerous snow storms in New Zealand but we’d like to have your help as there are some that have no real historical record.

In 1939 a severe blizzard covered much of the country with Auckland receiving a dusting of snow.

1945 saw heavy snow fall across eastern areas with more than a half a metre of snow falling in Christchurch and it fell quickly over a 6 hour period.

1973 and heavy snow blanketed the Canterbury Plains and also North Otago and lay for a number of days.

In 1992 a serious blizzard covered much of Canterbury with a depth of up to 50cm in Christchurch and more about the Port Hills and inland Canterbury.

1995 and a southerly storm moved up the country which affected both islands and transport issues resulted.

2006 saw a surprise dumping of snow to sea level over eastern areas of the Mainland and cutting power to some inland residents for up to 3 weeks.

Last year and Southland copped almost a week of serious cold and snow which saw the roof collapse at Stadium Southland.

We’d love you to add other snowy events to our list and feel free to post your thoughts in our add comments section.




Diana on 14/08/2011 6:58pm

I remember it snowing in Christchurch when i was a little kid – probably 1979/80?  first time i had seen or played with snow!!

Guest Ian Cooper on 14/08/2011 7:15am

In Lyndsay Knight’s book, “Shield Fever,” there are a great selection of pictures showing Manawatu challenging for the Ranfurly Shield on August 12th that year (pgs 56-59). A heavy dump of snow the night before left the field covered in the white stuff, in some places up to 10 inches (250mm) thick. Only players from the Oroua club at Kimbolton and Apiti (both at 1,000 ft elevation) would have experienced playing in snow at all amongst the Manawatu players. In one photo one could be forgiven for thinking that the shot was taken at Scott Base!


Anne on 14/08/2011 4:15am

My mother-in-law often mentioned snow on the ground in Nelson in 1949.

David on 14/08/2011 2:29am

It snowed in Karori in 1979 and my son and I made a snowman.  I have several pics of the snow.

Guest on 14/08/2011 4:53am

In 1979 I lived in brooklyn and woke up to snow covering our back yard. We aso built snowmen.

Guest on 14/08/2011 1:38am

There was a severe snowstorm in South canterbury November 1967 brought close to 50cm of snow down to 300m which is amazing for the time of year.

Andrew on 14/08/2011 1:02am

I can remember been woken up early one morning to find a decent blanket of snow in Totora Park. Most had gone by mid morning

Andrew on 14/08/2011 12:25am

I read somewhere it snowed to sea level as far north as North Cape in July 1939…. Snow was in Aucklands Suburbs settled and stayed for at least 6-8 Hours……

I believe i googled “New Zealands great winter of 1939”

Hope this helps……..

Andrew (From Takapuna)

John H on 14/08/2011 12:10am

I can remember seeing a photo of The Square in Palmerston North covered in several inches of snow.  From memory the photo was taken in the early 1900s – perhaps around 1905. 

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