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New Zealand Climate

Warm and wet in the east

May’s climate was much warmer than usual, with temperatures almost the same as in April 2004. Rainfall was well above average in parts of Auckland, Coromandel, and Bay of Plenty, and below average in Wanganui, Manawatu, Kapiti, and Wairarapa. Mean temperatures were above normal in most districts, especially Bay of Plenty and Gisborne. A record 27.3 °C was recorded at Nelson Park, Napier, on 2 May, the highest May temperature since measurements began there in 1869, and a new May all-time record for the North Island.

The May climate pattern was due to warm air flow fron the northerly quater prevailing over the country with more frequent depressions in the Tasman Sea, and anticyclones east of New Zealand.


Percentage of average rainfall for May 2004 (recording sites shown with dots). Click to enlarge.

Difference from the average air temperature in degrees Celsius for May 2004. Click to enlarge.

Difference from the normal surface water temperatures in the seas around New Zealand. Temperatures were generally 1–2° below average during April.