New Zealand Climate

Cold and wet December

New Zealand experienced the coldest December since 1945, with previously unrecorded low temperatures in many places.

Rainfall was well above average in the east from Hawke’s Bay to Southland, while conditions in Westland and Fiordland were drier than normal.

For more information on the climate in December, visit the climate summaries page at


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

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

Difference from normal surface water temperatures in the seas around New Zealand. Temperatures of seas adjacent to New Zealand were low in December, in some areas up to 3 degrees below normal.