Although New Zealand is located in a temperate region, the country still experiences extreme climatic conditions from time to time. Warm air masses from the tropics may bring ex-tropical cyclones to New Zealand that cause heavy rain and high winds, and cold air masses from the Antarctic region may bring cold temperatures and snow to many parts of the country.

In addition, local topography may modify the weather, for example very warm north-west foehn winds are sometimes experienced in the eastern parts of both Islands, and heavy orographic rainfall on the windward side of mountain ranges.

See statistics about New Zealand’s climatic extremes here.

Under the Climate Present and Past project, NIWA undertakes research about New Zealand climate extremes in the following areas:

  • Extreme rainfall trends in New Zealand's main centres