Great for lucky people on holiday, but farmer drought concerns are rising.

We may have seen our first showers of 2015 yesterday, but the Auckland region is soaking up its driest start to summer in almost a decade.

Most of the country has been basking in glorious sunshine since Christmas, holidaymakers in traditional hotspots the Bay of Islands, Taupo and the Coromandel revelling in scorching temperatures.

Read more:
Keep your hat on - sunny days to stay for a little while yet
2014: The hottest year on record

And new MetService figures show Aucklanders are enjoying the driest summer in eight years. Just 62.8mm of rain was recorded at Auckland Airport during December - the lowest figure since 2006 when just 47mm was recorded.


The rare sight of rain made its presence felt yesterday, forcing several interruptions to the Black Caps' one-day international against Sri Lanka at Eden Park.

And while some showers are expected today, sun worshippers have been told to prepare themselves for more golden sunshine.

"For the dry spell to be so persistent is unusual," Niwa's principal climate scientist Andrew Tait said. "Normally we would get three days of sunshine followed by some rain coming through, but that has been getting blocked by ongoing weather systems."

The golden spell of weather might have been a blessing for holidaymakers around New Zealand, but it is causing concern for farmers, Niwa warning the lack of rain meant parts of the country faced a drought within a month.

Irrigation restrictions are already in place in parts of Canterbury and North Otago.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council has banned the use of hoses and sprinklers for Matatoki and Tairua, and there's a sprinkler ban for Omahu.

The Waikato District Council is allowing sprinklers between the hours of 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm. In the Waipa district sprinklers can only be used on alternate days.

There are no water restrictions in Northland and Auckland at present.


The stunning start to summer took many forecasters by surprise.

Ten days out from Christmas Day the MetService forecast the main centres to expect rain, showers or cloud and also predicted a wet countdown to 2015.

No rain, however, was recorded on Christmas Day in Auckland, Taupo, Whangarei, Hamilton and Tauranga.

And in most places on New Year's Eve, the rain arrived very late and didn't last long.

WeatherWatch analyst Philip Duncan said some of the forecast bad weather never eventuated after a high pressure system fizzled out.

"Before then, people were saying, 'So much for summer,' and I almost got T-shirts printed with that on it," he said.


Data released by American government scientists yesterday revealed that 2014 was the hottest year on record, with temperatures 0.8C above the 20th century averages. Britain's Met Office revealed last year was the hottest year in the UK since 1910.

Wet start won't last

Prepare yourself for a wet start to the week but the showers won't be around for long.

WeatherWatch forecaster Philip Duncan said the golden glow of summer will continue for some time.

The wettest weather will be in the South Island due to a big low over the Southern Ocean.

"That's going to hang around at the start of next week."

Some showers might also be present on the eastern side of the North Island.


But for the rest of the country, including Auckland and Wellington, the current high pressure systems will continue, bringing warm and dry weather.

The next two weeks might be cloudier than the first two weeks of January, but temperatures will still be in the mid to high 20s.