The latitude of New Zealand corresponds closely to that of Italy in the Northern Hemisphere, but its isolation from continental influences and exposure to cold southerly winds and ocean currents give the climate a much milder character.
The climate throughout the country is mild and temperate, mainly maritime, with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10�C in the south to 16�C in the north.
Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 �C (108.3 �F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and -21.6 �C (-6.9 �F) in Ophir, Otago.
Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to almost semi-arid in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland.
Of the seven largest cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving on average only 640 millimetres (25 in) of rain per year and Auckland the wettest, receiving almost twice that amount.
Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average in excess of 2,000 hours of sunshine.
The southern and south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400-1,600 hours; the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive approximately 2,400-2,500 hours.
NOTE: The information regarding New Zealand on this page is re-published from Wikipedia and World Meteorological Organization.
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This page was last modified 09-Feb-11
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