Whangarei councillor wants 'true' temperature recognised

By Matthew Theunissen, Mike Dinsdale of The Northern Advocate

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

It's in the heart of the "winterless north" and clocked up the nation's highest mean temperature of 15.8C last year.

But a district councillor believes Whangarei is even hotter than this, and wants its true temperature recognised.

Tourism Development Group chairman and district councillor Jeroen Jongejans wants MetService to start taking its temperature readings from central Whangarei rather than the airport at Onerahi to give a "true" indication of the city's temperature.

Mr Jongejans said the city was often several degrees warmer than the airport and he planned to ask the council to back his call as a way of attracting more people to the region.

This comes after Niwa released its Annual Climate Summary, with other parts of the country also trying to make the most of the statistics, which, it seems, make for subjective reading.

Nelson's annual temperature was in the middle of the pack at 13.2C, but clocked up the second most sunshine hours last year, 2584.

Mayor Aldo Miccio had his own answer to the "winterless north" title: "The sunshine capital of New Zealand, that's us".

"The sun shines a lot here in Nelson, that's the only thing we're worried about, whether it be 28C or 13C."

Mr Miccio said it was "silly" that Niwa's figures combines night-time and day-time temperatures. Had they been for the day-time only the results could have been quite different.

"I suggest Niwa put out their day-time temperatures as well if they have any marketing ambitions to actually help promote the country and the regions."

Bay of Plenty Tourism general manager Rhys Arrowsmith said the difference between the mean temperature in Tauranga (15.1C) and Whangarei (15.8C) was "splitting hairs".

"I think the overall picture needs to be taken into account. The Bay of Plenty is where Kiwis come to holiday and it's because of the year-on-year consistency of our temperature and sunshine. Paired with out unique natural environment it's pretty hard to beat."

With Whakatane getting the most sunshine hours last year, 2602, Mr Arrowsmith had no problem coming up with his region's weather headline: "Bay of Plenty: Your Place to Shine".

With the coldest mean temperature in the country of 6.7C, Mt Ruapehu's Chateau Tongariro hotel manager Tony Abbott had to be a bit more creative: "Mt Ruapehu: pleasantly cool", he said.

Furthermore, it had the best "sleeping conditions" in the country.

"It's probably the only place in the country you can sleep with your windows closed all year round so you don't have to sweat it out like you do in Auckland.

"I love the temperature down here, I don't want to be in Whangarei where it's so hot."

He said Whangarei should "just move on" and be happy to have recorded the country's highest mean temperature.

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said there were precedents for cities to have their official weather data collecting sites moved, with Dunedin doing so several years ago.

Mr Corbett said MetService would happily consider such a request from the Whangarei District Council, but said there would be some costs associated with such a move.

- Warmest mean: Whangarei, 15.8C

- Coldest mean: Mt Ruapehu, 6.7C

- Hottest recorded temperature: 34.5C, Gisborne, December 19

- Coldest recorded temperature: -11.8C, Darfield, June 7

Highest wind gust: 206km/h, Cape Turnagain, December 2

- National mean: 12.5C

- Most rainfall for the year: Cropp River near Hokitika, 9630mm

- Least rainfall: Alexandra: 378mm

Source: NiwaAPNZ NAD mt lb

- APNZ

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