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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Relative Humidity

Humidity is commonly between 70 and 80 per cent in coastal areas and is about 10 per cent lower inland. It varies inversely as the temperature, falling to a minimum in the early afternoon when temperature is highest and frequently lying between 90 and 100 per cent during clear nights. As the following table shows, the diurnal variation is greater than the difference between summer and winter.

Station Mean Relative Humidity
January July
3 a.m. 3 p.m. 3 a.m. 3 p.m.
Per Cent
Auckland (Mechanics Bay) 85 63 90 74
Gisborne 89 62 90 72
Ohakea Aerodrome 87 62 89 72
Wellington 89 71 87 77
Christchurch 87 61 89 73
Hokitika 95 78 93 75
Invercargill 90 72 91 78

Very low humidities – between 20 and 30 per cent or lower – occur at times in the lee of the Southern Alps where the effect is often very marked. In summer the hot, dry “Canterbury Norwester” is generally a most unpleasant wind. Cool south-westerlies are also at times very dry when they reach eastern districts. In Northland the humid midsummer conditions are inclined to be rather oppressive, though temperatures there rarely reach 85°. Dull, humid spells are generally not prolonged anywhere, but their frequency shows a marked increase in the south.

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