Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Weather

Geographically NZ Aotearoa lies between 37 and 47 degrees south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Generally both the North and South islands have a moderate climate, which allows Kiwis to both work (e.g. farming, fishing) and enjoy their leisure time outdoors for much of the year. The two features which heavily influence the weather are our fabulous mountains (with alpine winters dropping to lows of -10ºC in the South Island) and our seas (with some areas hitting as high as 30ºC+ in the top of the North Island).

Our three big cities: Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington all receive over two thousand hours of bright sunshine a year, which is spread across all seasons, not just the summer. As small island land masses, we do however experience dramatic weather on occasions, with wild storms, gale force winds, rain, cyclones, hurricanes and even the odd waterspout hitting our sunny shores. The aftermath of this type of extreme weather can be dramatic, causing all sorts of damage such as flooding, damage to buildings and disruption to people's everyday lives.

Ref: Auckland Weekly News, the call of the outdoors at Easter, various locations around NZ, 1933, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19330412-39-1
Kiwis do talk about the weather quite a bit (although not as much as the Brits!), even inspiring songs to be written about it. Remember Crowded House's song 'Weather With You' (which mirrors the literary device pathetic fallacy - whereby people's emotions and moods are reflected in the weather) and 'Four Seasons in One Day'? Well this latter song, really does epitomise the Kiwi weather, since it really is possible to have all kinds of weather in just one day!

Dive into the images below, which are drawn from the heritage collections at Auckland Libraries and enjoy a wild and blustering ride through the heritage weather of the past! And make sure you check out our heritage weather resources: we have books about forecasting, art exhibitions featuring weather, the psychological aspects of weather, fiction books, weather vanes and much, much more.

Heavy rain:

Ref: Auckland Weekly News, a battery artillery marching across country through the rain, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19090415-4-4
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, the foredeck of the HMS New Zealand in the rain, 1913, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19130424-6-4
Dramatic storms:

Ref: Auckland Weekly News, a wild night in Auckland, 1922, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-1922040
Raging seas:

Ref: Auckland Weekly News, a mighty breaker on the coast near Nelson, 1910, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19100331-6-1
Ref: Photographer unknown, Browns Bay wharf destroyed during storm, North Shore, 1936, North Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, E0345
The aftermath of wild weather:

Ref: Auckland Weekly News, a serious summer storm in the North Auckland district, 1927, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19270106-15-6
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, flooded streets in Napier after severe storms on the North Island east coast, 1911, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19110525-8-1
Ref: Eostock for Auckland Weekly News, sheep struck by a lightening storm, 1902, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19020904-9-2
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, the small craft and building demolished after a cyclone in Auckland, 1940, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19400117-46-2
Ref: Photographer unknown, Milford Beach shop after storm damage, North Shore, c. 1930s, North Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, T0199
Ref: Photographer unknown, Cornwallis monument after lightning strike, Puponga Peninsula, 1927, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, JTD-08A-04704
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, coaching in the back blocks after heavy rain, location unknown, 1908, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19080409-12-3
But it's not all wild weather, we do get our fare share of sun too!

Ref: Frank Morris, Laingholm Beach, Waitakeres, c. 1940s, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, FMO-0729-00045-G
Ref: John Thomas Diamond, from Lion Rock along North Piha Beach to Marawhara Stream, Waitakeres, 1948, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, JTD-04E-05621-2
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, a summer day on Motuihi, Auckland, 1935, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19351211-53-2

Author: Natasha Barrett (NB)

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