Top of South loses sunshine crown


After six years, Whakatāne has wrenched the title of New Zealand’s sunshine capital away from the Top of the South.

It has been a hard-won battle, following several back-to-back wins, Whakatāne has been forced to watch for the last six years as Blenheim, Richmond and Nelson continually jostled for first place.

The district, branded as having “everything under the sun”, even dipped as low as sixth place at one point.

Although Niwa is yet to certify this year’s sunshine results, Whakatāne’s substantial lead over second-placegetter Richmond makes that a formality.

The figures provided by local weather analyst John Scott are based on the daily sunshine hours contained in Niwa’s CliFlo database as of 1 January.

With 2704 sunshine hours, Whakatāne came in 89 hours ahead of second-placed Richmond, 105 hours ahead of Blenheim and 109 hours ahead of New Plymouth.

Scott said the town recorded the highest sunshine hours in the country in January, February, May and December 2020.

Mayor Judy Turner is jubilant that Whakatāne has finally reclaimed its title as the country’s sunniest spot.

She said locals would be glad to share their sunshine with visitors.

“It’s really cool, it’s a very lovely way to finish off what has been a pretty horrible year.

“We’re not going to hog it all for ourselves, we welcome New Zealand to come and enjoy our sunshine with us. Feel free to come and share.”

  • RNZ