Northland finished 2009 as the hottest place in the country and has started this year in similar fashion,  receiving well below its average rainfall and  more sunshine hours than normal.
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research's (NIWA) January climate summary found there was above-average rainfall for almost the whole of the country last month, except in Northland, which is in the grip of a drought.
NIWA said January was an unsettled month, being wet, slightly cool and extremely cloudy, characterised by lower pressures than normal across the country.
Above-average rainfall was recorded across the country, but Northland experienced well-below-average rainfall,  receiving less than 50 per cent of its normal January rain.
Months of below-average rainfall had left Northland with "severe" soil moisture deficits across the region, and this was expected to continue for the next month or so.
Nationally, sunshine totals were below 75 per cent of normal last month, but, again, Northland bucked the  trend.
NIWA said Northland experienced a "very sunny" month, with sunshine totals across the region between 10 and 15 per cent above the January norm.
The highest official individual temperature last month was 34.3C at Blenheim on January 1, while Kaitaia recorded its equal third-highest-ever January temperature of 28.4C on January 29.
Kaitaia also recorded the most sunshine hours nationally in January, with the  northern-most town bathed by 277 hours of sun, the town's fourth-highest January total since records began in 1985.
NIWA is predicting the El Nino,  which typically brings higher-than-normal pressure in the north of the North Island and has been causing Northland's big dry,  to continue until at least the end of this month.
January's  Northland weather  came after Whangarei recorded the highest average temperature in the country last year with 15.8C. As well, Kaitaia and Kaikohe shared the second-highest average temperature on 15.6C.
This confirms what most Northlanders already know - this is the hottest region in the country.