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Winter 2015 – One to remember: Your Seasonal Climate Summary

2015’s winter won’t be remembered for ‘near average’ rainfall, soil moisture or temperatures – it will be remembered for its outliers – the extreme events which occurred here and there around New Zealand over the last 3 months.

In saying that, statistically we look pretty close to average – with sections of the country slightly above or below yearly climate expectations, and most somewhere around the norm.
Check out some of the highlight’s from winter’s climate summary, below.

Overall, winter temperatures were near average (-0.50°C to +0.50°C) across most of the country.
There were pockets of below average temperatures (-1.20°C to -0.51°C) in western Waikato, Tararua, Wairarapa, mid-Canterbury, Tasman and coastal Otago.

Pockets of above average temperatures (+0.51°C to +1.20°C) were also present in Christchurch, central Otago and the Manawatu.
The nation-wide average temperature in winter 2015 was 8.4°C (equal to the 1981-2010 winter average, using NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909). 

However, this average picture of winter temperatures does not convey the nature of the extremely low temperatures that affected the Mackenzie Country and Central Otago in late June.
These temperatures were some of the lowest ever recorded in New Zealand and will make winter 2015 one to remember.


Rainfall was below normal (50-79%) or well below normal (< 50%) for some eastern areas of New Zealand including Northland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa and north Canterbury.
Rainfall was either above normal (120-149%) or well above normal (> 149%) for southwestern and western parts of both the North and South Islands and coastal Otago.

Soil moisture

As of 1 September 2015, soil moisture levels were below normal for this time of year for Hawke’s Bay, coastal Wairarapa, eastern parts of Canterbury and North Otago.


Winter sunshine was near normal for most of the country (90-109%). Above normal (110-125%) sunshine was observed in western Waikato and Marlborough and below normal sunshine (75-89%) was observed in Taranaki.

Further Highlights:

  • The highest temperature was 23.8°C, observed at Christchurch (Riccarton) on 3 August.
  • The lowest temperature was -21.0°C, observed at Tara Hills on 24 June.
  • The highest 1-day rainfall was 454 mm, recorded at North Egmont 19 June.
  • The highest wind gust was 189km/hr, observed at Cape Turnagain on 29 June.
  • Of the six main centres in winter 2015, Auckland was the warmest and wettest, Dunedin was the cloudiest, Christchurch was the coolest and driest and Hamilton was the sunniest.
  • Of the available, regularly reporting sunshine observation sites, the sunniest four stations so far in 2015 (1 January to 31 August) are: Blenheim (1742 hours), Whakatane (1724 hours), Appleby (1701 hours) and Waipara West (1671 hours).

– – with credit to NIWA’s winter summary report.

– Photo: Mark Hooper


Guest on 4/09/2015 5:04am

Not sure how the BOP can be drier than normal, we have mud up to our eyeballs after the wettest winter in a long time in Tauranga!

Guest on 4/09/2015 11:26pm

It is all realative.  Maybe it is always really wet there and just a little drier this winter (but still quite wet).  I know that Auckland can have a ‘very dry’ month, and that same rainfall would be a ‘wet’ month in Christchurch.

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