Whakatane 'lends' sunshine cup to Blenheim

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Whakatane has given up its title of  “sunniest spot in New Zealand” to Blenheim.
Whakatane has given up its title of “sunniest spot in New Zealand” to Blenheim.

After a lengthy stay at the top of the country's sunshine standings, Whakatane has narrowly lost its title as the "sunniest spot in New Zealand" to Blenheim.

NIWA's climate database confirms that Blenheim topped the sunshine standings in 2015 with 2814 hours of sunshine recorded, 29 hours ahead of Whakatane, with Lake Tekapo, Nelson, New Plymouth and Gisborne trailing further behind.

Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne has passed on his congratulations to Marlborough District mayor Alistair Sowman.

"We're gracious in defeat and acknowledge that Blenheim has outshone us," he said.

"But Whakatane held the title for four out of the previous five years and we were a very close second in 2015, so we're certainly not short of sun."I guess it's only fair that we share our sunshine capital status around every now and then."

Mr Bonne acknowledged that he has had to search for the sunshine hat and trophy that go to the sunniest centre.

"They've been in our possession for so long, it was quite a job to find them. While we've conceded the national title this year, we've consistently been the North Island's sunniest destination for many years now, and in that respect, our 'sunshine capital' reputation is still very much intact," he said.

"We have a wonderful year-round climate and summer here is just magic. We've got Ohope Beach - voted New Zealand's most-loved beach, some of the country's best fishing and diving and a host of activities and events to boot."

Mr Bonne said he'll hand over the Sunshine Cup to Blenheim as he passes through the area on Monday, but he doesn't anticipate that it will be away for long.

"It seems to feel at home here, but we all need a break away sometimes."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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