Photographs of Hawke's Bay taken from space almost a year apart show the effects of its drought.

The photos, taken by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), compare the region on May 2, 2019, and April 29 this year.

Hawke's Bay's landscape is noticeably greener in last year's photo. Only a quarter of its expected rain fell in the region over the past six months.

December through February is typically the driest period in north and central New Zealand, but according to Nasa, the 2019-2020 summer season was especially dry, leaving the entirety of North Island in severe meteorological drought.

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According to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), drought in some parts of the New Zealand this year rivals that of 2013, New Zealand's worst drought in decades.

Niwa reported five days ago that Hastings has been in continuous drought for 29 days, according to the New Zealand drought index. In 2013 the district was in drought for 33 continuous days.

A photo of Hawke's Bay taken from space a year ago shows drought has affected the region far less than in a similar image a year later. Photo / Supplied
A photo of Hawke's Bay taken from space a year ago shows drought has affected the region far less than in a similar image a year later. Photo / Supplied

Waikato had drought for 61 continuous days, just two short of the 2013 streak, and Auckland topped records with 77 days of continuous drought.

The lack of rain in Auckland has left reservoirs at about 46 per cent of capacity, compared with the average 76 per cent for the time of year.

The drought's impact on plants and trees is visible in the images, acquired with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (Modis) on Nasa's Aqua satellite.

Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker said the drought was a challenge to all farmers and would take a least a year to recover from.

A photograph of Hawke's Bay taken by NASA almost a year on shows effects of drought on the region. Photo / Supplied
A photograph of Hawke's Bay taken by NASA almost a year on shows effects of drought on the region. Photo / Supplied

"When Nasa says that its dry it must be dry," she wrote on Facebook.

"The perfect storm of Covid-19 lockdown and this drought is going to have long reaching consequences for us in Central Hawke's Bay."

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Walker added: "We need the rest of NZ to understand that this is not a normal situation and that we may need some help to recover."

She said although the drought has been "painful and visible" since early February, it followed a dry 2019.

Thunderstorms early this month brought much-needed rain to parts of the North Island, but was not enough to end the drought.

Water shortages have prompted officials to consider mandatory water restrictions.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor announced last week a new $500,000 fund to help farmers and growers prepare their businesses to recover from drought.

O'Connor said farmers could access up to $5000 to equip rural businesses with the professional and technical advice they needed.