People were diving in pools and racing for shade because of the record-breaking temperatures felt around Hawke's Bay yesterday.

Wairoa led the charge, recording the highest temperature for New Zealand in November for the last 15 years.

Meanwhile in Napier, the 33C recorded at Nelson Park broke a 52-year-old record.

Niwa meteorologist Ben Noll said Wairoa reached 34.1C, topping the country.


Wairoa College youth co-ordinator and deputy mayor Denise Eaglesome said the students were running to the trees for shade whenever they were outside.

"Thank goodness for air-conditioning in the classrooms as it was probably the hottest day we have had in Wairoa.

"Even when I was outside in the shade I could feel the heat, I guess it is a taste of what is to come."

Wairoa deputy chief fire officer and tow truck operator Barry Gasson said he received a few callouts with cars overheating but he had not had any fire calls.

"There were definitely a few cars struggling in the heat, and I urge people to check their radiators and water before they travel," Mr Gasson said.

"But in regards to fire, I guess it is still early days and the ground at the moment is not in a dry state."

Napier also broke records, reaching all-time highs at both Nelson Park and the airport weather station.

MetService meteorologist Claire Flynn said the high of 33C at Nelson Park broke a 52-year-old record.

"The previous high was back in 1964, where it got to 31.8C, and the station has been around since 1868 so it is usually quite hard to break these records."

The airport thermometer broke a 34-year record as a high of 33.4C was reported.

"This was the highest temperature since 31.4C back in 1982. It moved up 2C this year."

Meanwhile, Hastings just passed its previous record of 31.7C yesterday, reaching a high of 32C.

Ms Flynn said the effect of a foehn (a type of dry, warm, down-slope wind) contributed to the record-breaking temperatures.

"Hawke's Bay sits to the east of the ranges so as the air comes over it dries out and manages to heat up a lot, producing foehn winds."

Mr Noll said these westerly winds were expected next week too, which would bring another dry week.

"We can only see spotty patches of rain with no significant heavy rainfall, and temperatures should remain near to or above normal for this time," Mr Noll said.

Although there was a lack of rain forecast for the next week, Mr Noll said there was no immediate concern about a drought.

"Due to the rainfall over the last two months, the soil moisture in central and northern Hawke's Bay is above average while southern parts are average."

Of immediate concern was the use of the town's water supply in Hastings, Flaxmere and Havelock North, as it was the highest in five years last weekend.

A council spokeswoman said with the Havelock North bores turned off after the water-borne gastric illness back in August, people needed to make serious efforts to conserve water.

She said council staff were working to get treatment options attached to one of the bores so it could contribute to the water supply again.

"A UV treatment plant, filters and chlorination will be in place and it had been hoped these measures would be in place before the dry season fully took hold, however that has come earlier than normal."

There were no bans in place but she hoped people would not wash cars, limit watering of the vegetable garden to dusk, put off topping up swimming pools unless absolutely necessary and let lawns dry.