Winter 2017

A very wet winter for the eastern South Island, mild temperatures for most of the country

A very wet winter for the eastern South Island, mild temperatures for most of the country


Rainfall was well above normal (> 149%) for parts of the eastern South Island from Christchurch to Oamaru. Rainfall was above normal (120-149%) in parts of eastern Otago, Nelson, Wellington and Northland. Below normal rainfall (50-79%) was observed in southern parts of Southland, Queenstown and Marlborough. 


Winter temperatures were well above average (> +1.20°C) for parts of Central Otago, and above average (+0.51°C to +1.20°C) in parts of Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Manawatu-Whanganui, Nelson, West Coast and the Southern Lakes.  Temperatures were below average (-0.51°C to -1.20°C) in parts of Tasman and the Mackenzie Basin.

Soil moisture

At the end of winter 2017, soil moisture levels were above normal for the time of year for eastern parts of Otago and Marlborough.  Soil moisture levels were below normal for isolated inland parts of Otago, and typically near normal for the remainder of the country.


Winter sunshine was above normal (110-125%) in parts of Southland and western Waikato. In contrast, below normal sunshine (75-89%) was observed in Christchurch and Wellington.


Winter 2017 got off to a relatively settled start, with record or near-record low rainfall totals for June in many North Island locations. In contrast, July was an active month due to the passage of several low pressure systems. Record-breaking rainfall was recorded in parts of Canterbury and Otago, leading to severe flooding and the declaration of a State of Emergency in those parts.

August was a warm month throughout the country, with abundant rainfall in western and central parts of the North and South Islands.  For the winter season, overall, air pressures were higher than normal to the southeast of New Zealand and near normal across the country, with no significant airflow anomaly observed.

NIWA Climate Scientist Nava Fedaeff brings you highlights and statistics from Winter 2017.

NIWA Winter Climate Summary 2017

Further Highlights:

  • The highest temperature was 23.2°C, observed at Kaikoura on 17 August.
  • The lowest temperature was -14.6°C, observed at Tekapo on 29 July.
  • The highest 1-day rainfall was 161 mm, recorded at Oamaru on 21 July.
  • The highest wind gust was 170 km/hr, observed at Akitio (Hawke’s Bay) on 13 August.
  • Of the six main centres in winter 2017, Auckland was the warmest, Dunedin was the driest, Tauranga was the sunniest, Christchurch was the coolest, and Wellington was the wettest and least sunny.
  • Of the available, regularly reporting sunshine observation sites, the sunniest four locations in 2017 so far (1 January – 31 August) were Whakatane (1646 hours), Blenheim (1608 hours), Richmond (1587 hours) and Napier (1552 hours).



Mr Chris Brandolino Principal Scientist – Forecasting, NIWA National Climate Centre Tel. 09 375 6335, Mobile 027 866 0014.

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