Bay of Plenty temperatures were among the highest in the country this summer, according to Niwa's summer climate summary.

Tauranga's temperature was the second-warmest on record for the city, with records beginning in 1913.

Above average sea temperatures around New Zealand's coastline was the main contributor to the warmer than average summer, the report said.

Ironically, out of the six main centres, Tauranga was the sunniest, wettest and warmest this summer.


Tauranga had 36 consecutive dry days - the third-longest dry spell on record.

The Bay of Plenty was the second sunniest region in the country in 2018, just behind Nelson.

The summer was New Zealand's third-warmest summer on record.

The report highlighted that despite the wet start to the summer, the dry and hot January and February saw a depletion in soil moisture levels.

Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty president Darryl Jensen said farmers had an exceptional start to the summer with good moisture levels and "grass growing out their ears".

A slow-moving dry spell swept the Bay of Plenty from the start of January through until the present, and Jensen said every day was getting tougher and tougher.

"We just go on thinking that every day we are one day closer to some rain."

Jensen said the dry spell really was "starting to bite", and although it was not officially a drought, farmers were under extreme pressure.


Maize crops that were usually saved for winter were being fed to cattle now and production was being hindered, with some farmers milking only once a day.

Jensen said if significant rainfall did not come soon, the situation would become serious.

Niwa meteorologist Ben Noll said the Bay of Plenty was particularly dry and had a major lack of rainfall and soil moisture.

He said there may be some lingering showers later in the week, before returning to dry conditions.

Noll said there was potential for the showers to turn to heavy rain, but it was unpredictable like "popcorn".

"We know there is heavy rain coming, we just aren't sure which kernel, or place in this situation, will pop first."

According to Niwa's Seasonal Climate Outlook, the regional prediction for the Bay of Plenty for March to May was for above average temperatures.

The prediction showed a 40 per cent chance that rainfall, soil moisture levels, and river flow levels would be below normal.

Welcome Bay resident Alana Smith said she had loved the hot summer and was making the most of the sun while she could.

Bethlehem's Rebecca McCabe said she had been soaking up the summer sun, and there was no better place in the country to do it.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand issued a warning in the last few days that Tauranga and Bay of Plenty coast areas were in an extreme fire danger period.

Looking ahead:


Fine, apart from some cloud morning and night. High of 25C.


Cloudy periods increasing, a few evening showers. High of 24C


Cloudy with rain developing. High of 24C.


Cloudy with occasional rain. High of 24C.