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Climate Summary for June 2015

Very wet in many parts and an extremely cold snap for the south.



Rainfall was above normal (120-149%) or well above normal (> 149%) for much of the Manawatu-Whanganui, Taranaki, Westland, Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland regions. Rainfall was well below normal (< 50%) or below normal (50-79%) for parts of Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, and north Canterbury.


June temperatures were near average across much of the country (within 0.5°C of June average). Below average temperatures were recorded in inland Canterbury, Wairarapa, western Waikato (0.5-1.2°C below June average) and above average temperatures experienced in northern, eastern, and western parts of the North Island and northern, western, and south-central parts of the South Island (0.5-1.2°C above June average). A polar outbreak in late June led to the 4th-lowest temperature ever recorded in New Zealand.

Soil Moisture

As of 1 July 2015, soil moisture levels were below normal for this time of year for East Cape, around and inland from Napier, coastal Wairarapa, coastal southern Marlborough and eastern parts of Canterbury north of Christchurch.  It was especially dry about north Canterbury where soils were considerably drier than normal for this time of year. 


Well above normal (>125%) or above normal (110-125%) sunshine was recorded in Northland, Auckland, western Waikato, Wellington, Marlborough, north Canterbury, and Central Otago. Near normal sunshine (within 10% of normal) was recorded elsewhere, expect in Franz Josef and Tauranga where below normal sunshine was recorded.


Winter truly arrived in New Zealand in June 2015. The month as a whole was unsettled, with storm events affecting different parts of the country. Heavy rainfall and severe flooding affected the South Taranaki and Manawatu-Whanganui regions, as well as Hokitika, Dunedin, and parts of Southland. In late June, a significant snowfall event in the South Island was followed by the coldest temperatures recorded in New Zealand for over 20 years (and the fourth-lowest temperature ever recorded in New Zealand), observed in the Mackenzie Country. For a full breakdown about the ‘big freeze’, refer to the Highlights and Extreme Events section.

Overall, the month was characterised by a strong south-westerly flow anomaly with higher than normal pressures over the North Island extending over the Tasman Sea, and lower than normal pressures over the South Island extending to the south and east of the island. This flow anomaly brought numerous storms to New Zealand during the month.


Rainfall was more than double the June normal (> 200% of June normal) in Whanganui, Palmerston North, Central Otago, and Dunedin (Dunedin recorded more than three times the normal rainfall total for June (> 300% of June normal)). Well above normal rainfall for June (more than 150% of June normal) was recorded in parts of Taranaki, Mt Ruapehu, Horowhenua, Hokitika, Timaru, Oamaru, and Gore. High rainfall caused significant flooding in Whanganui and surrounding areas – the worst flooding ever recorded there (see Highlights and Extreme Events section for more details). In contrast, it was a very dry month for eastern and northern areas of the North Island, as well as coastal northern Canterbury. Some areas in Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, and Hawke’s Bay received less than half the normal June rainfall (< 50% of June normal rainfall), and surrounding areas received below normal rainfall for June (50-79% of June normal rainfall). Rainfall was near normal (within 20% of normal June rainfall) in the eastern Bay of Plenty, southern Waikato, Wellington, and parts of the northwest South Island.

The lack of rainfall in eastern parts of both Islands exacerbated concerns regarding soil moisture, levels, but particularly in northern Canterbury. As of 1 July 2015, soils were notably drier than normal for East Cape, around Napier, coastal Wairarapa, southern Marlborough and eastern parts of Canterbury north of Christchurch. Elsewhere, soil moisture levels were near normal, aside from around Dunedin and further inland, where soil moisture levels were wetter than normal for the time of year.


Mean temperatures were near average across most of the country (within 0.5°C of June average). There were patches of below average temperatures (0.5-1.2°C below June average) in parts of inland Canterbury, Wairarapa, and western Waikato, and patches of above average temperatures (0.5-1.2 °C above June average) in Auckland, Waikato and the Coromandel, eastern Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, Taranaki, Buller, Nelson, Marlborough, coastal Canterbury, Queenstown-Lakes, and Central Otago. A polar outbreak was experienced in late June which affected the whole country, but particularly Canterbury and Otago. Parts of inland Canterbury experienced the coldest temperatures recorded in New Zealand for more than 20 years, with the lowest temperature recorded being -21.0°C at Tara Hills, near Omarama in the Mackenzie Country – this temperature is the fourth-lowest temperature ever recorded in New Zealand (see Highlights and Extreme Events section for more details). The nationwide average temperature in June 2015 was 8.9°C (0.3°C above the 1981-2010 June average from NIWA’s seven station temperature series which begins in 1909)[1].


Despite the rain for much of the country, it was a sunny month for parts of New Zealand. Well above normal sunshine (> 125% of June normal sunshine) was recorded in western Waikato and parts of Central Otago, and above normal sunshine (110-125% of June normal sunshine) was experienced in Northland, Auckland, Wellington, Marlborough, north Canterbury, and parts of Central Otago. Sunshine was near normal elsewhere (90-110% of June normal sunshine), except for Franz Josef and Tauranga which recorded below normal sunshine (75-89% of June normal sunshine).

Further highlights

  • The highest temperature was 21.7°C, observed at Cheviot on 1 June.
  • 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 on 19 June.
  • The highest wind gust was 189 km/hr, observed at Cape Turnagain on 29 June.
  • Of the six main centres in June 2015, Auckland was the warmest, Christchurch was the coolest, Tauranga was the driest, Dunedin was the wettest and cloudiest, and Hamilton was the sunniest.
  • Of the available, regularly reporting sunshine observation sites, the sunniest four centres so far in 2015 (1 January to 30 June) are: Blenheim (1356 hours), Whakatane (1354 hours), Waipara West (1338 hours), and Appleby (1327 hours).


Full Climate Summary - June 2015 [675 KB PDF]

Climate statistics for June 2015 [69 KB PDF]


For further information, please contact:

Mr Chris Brandolino
NIWA Forecaster – NIWA National Climate Centre

Tel. 09 375 6335
Mobile (027) 886 0014