It was a bleak June for much of the east coast but the west coast experienced one of the sunniest.

According to figures provided by MetService, Christchurch had its second gloomiest June on record, recording only 80.4 hours of sunlight.

This was more than a full day and a half below the average of 117.1 hours, and the cloudiest June since 1981 when the sun shone for a miserable 59.3 hours.

Wellington experienced an even cloudier June, at 79.5 hours, well below its average of 99.1. It was the 10th cloudiest June on record for the capital. The cloudiest was in 1982 when it had a mere 61.4 hours of sunshine.

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The sunniest place in New Zealand last month was Nelson. Image / NZ Herald graphic
The sunniest place in New Zealand last month was Nelson. Image / NZ Herald graphic

But the West Coast enjoyed above-average sunshine for the month.

Hokitika recorded 122.9 hours of sunshine, more than a full day above the average of 98.7 hours.

It was not quite the sunniest on record though: it had 157.4 hours of sunshine in 1967.

Nelson was the sunniest of the main centres this year, getting 155.6 sunshine hours, up from an average of 143.3.

Even Auckland on 124.1 sunshine hours was above its June average of 116.2.

MetService meteorologist John Law said the gloomy month for the east was result of persistent easterly winds bringing low cloud, and the central mountain ranges acting as a block.

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"When the wind mainly comes from the western side, you get that shadow out to the east.

"As soon as it comes from the east, that central spine from Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, all the way down the country, acts as a good block and keeps the cloudy conditions on the east side."

There was a period in the beginning and middle of the month where it was grey and dull for weeks on end, Law said.

By June 18, Christchurch was well on track for its darkest June ever, having recorded only 13.8 hours of sunshine.

"It was a grey start to month in Christchurch, and it was only at the end of the month where there were days with 8-9 hours of sunshine that bumped the figure up."

Conversely the dominance of easterly winds provided the best weather to the west of the country.

"There were some great days on the West Coast," Law said.

July was looking like more of a "typical month", Law said.

"It is not looking like that grey trend will continue, but there will be some wet weather from time to time."