The glorious thing about a New Zealand summer is that just as the official holiday fortnight ends, the best has yet to come.

Those who have worked through Christmas and New Year, making the most of the four statutory holidays, know they are likely to enjoy even better weather when their turn comes. The school holidays, of course, have weeks left to run.

Two weeks into the summer holidays and the languid days of sunshine, swimming, beaches and barbecue still stretch ahead. Even when school goes back at the end of the month, the peak of summer will not have passed.

The final week of January and the first week of February have the warmest and most settled weather of the year. If you are scheduling a big outdoor event in Auckland, that is the fortnight to choose.


It is no coincidence that two long public holiday weekends fall in that fortnight, Auckland Anniversary Day, which is shared by the whole upper North Island, and Waitangi Day. The settlers knew what they were doing when they chose a provincial anniversary day in which nothing historical had happened. They knew the weather.

Likewise Captain Hobson when he came to make the Treaty and annex the country. Naval officers watch the weather.

Beyond Waitangi Day, plenty of summer remains. For that we can thank the vast ocean around New Zealand. The sea temperature is the reason we have a delayed summer. Water takes much longer than land to absorb heat and warm the air above it. Continents reach their warmest when the sun it at is zenith, or just after. The ocean takes a month longer.

Fortunately, water loses heat more slowly than land too, so the ocean is at its coldest a month after the winter sun is lowest. For those who wonder why the first half of our year has much more settled weather than the second half, that is the reason. The ocean is at its warmest in February and its coldest in August. So bask in the warm sea this week and know it will get warmer yet.

It should still be warm enough for swimming in March and April. Autumn can be an extended summer in northern regions. Who cares if our weather is wintry in spring and often cool, windy and wet up to Christmas? After New Year, it was worth the wait. When summer arrives it seems to last forever.