Emmett O’Connor enjoys some of late winter’s great surf conditions on Waiheke’s northern beaches. Peter Rees Photography

New Zealand experienced its hottest winter on record this year, according to Niwa. Of the six main centres, Auckland was the warmest, although temperatures across the country were generally above or well above winter averages. The highest temperature of the season was 25.1°C, observed at Timaru on 30 August.

The maximum average recorded on Waiheke during the winter months this year was 16.5°C compared to 16.2 last year, according to Weatherwise Auckland. In the previous 20 years, the average winter high was 15.8°C with a maximum winter temperature of 16.8°C recorded in 2011. The mercury didn’t drop very low this winter either with an average minimum of 10.9°C. This compares to 10.1°C in 2019 and a 9.0°C average minimum over the past 20 years.

Sea surface temperatures surrounding the country were also warmer than average during winter, most notably during August, and according to Niwa, this exerted a further warming influence on the country’s air temperatures. Overall, a combination of more frequent northeasterlies, warmer sea surface temperatures and higher pressure over the country, along with the influence of climate change, resulted in the widespread warm conditions experienced during winter.

MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths says Waiheke also experienced more northerly to northeasterly winds than usual this winter. She says surf, especially during August, was likely elevated on the northern beaches, especially the exposed Onetangi, Oneroa and Little Oneroa shorelines. • Sophie Boladeras

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