climate and demographics
New Zealand Weather
Mean annual New Zealand sunshine hours
New Zealand’s climate is complex and varies from warm subtropical in the far north to cool temperate climates in the far south, with severe alpine conditions in the mountainous areas.
Mountain chains extending the length of New Zealand provide a barrier for the prevailing westerly winds, dividing the country into dramatically different climate regions. The West Coast of the South Island is the wettest area of New Zealand, whereas the area to the east of the mountains, just over 100 km away, is the driest.
Sunshine hours are relatively high in areas that are sheltered from the west and most of New Zealand would have at least 2000 hours annually. The midday summer solar radiation index (UVI) is often very high in most places and can be extreme in northern New Zealand and in mountainous areas. Autumn and spring UVI values can be high in most areas.
Most areas of New Zealand have between 600 and 1600 mm of rainfall, spread throughout the year with a dry period during the summer. Over the northern and central areas of New Zealand more rainfall falls in winter than in summer, whereas for much of the southern part of New Zealand, winter is the season of least rainfall.
Mean annual New Zealand temperature (in ˚C)
Mean annual New Zealand rainfall (mm)
New Zealand seasons do not experience massive temperature extremes, however weather can change unexpectedly.
- Spring – September, October, November
- Summer – December, January, February
- Autumn – March, April, May
- Winter – June, July, August
The warmest months in New Zealand are December, January and February (Summer), and the coldest June, July and August (Winter). In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20 – 30°C and in winter between 10 – 15°C.
New Zealand’s biggest urban areas