Story: Mountains

Mean annual rainfall, 1971–2000

Mean annual rainfall, 1971–2000

New Zealand’s mountains play a big role in the pattern of the country’s rainfall. Moist airstreams flow in from the Tasman Sea. As they rise over the mountains of the South Island, the moisture condenses and falls as heavy rain on the western slopes. As a result, the country is drier on the eastern side. In the North Island, there is high rainfall on Mt Taranaki, Mt Ruapehu and the Tararua Range. Less rain falls on mountains in the north and east of the North Island, such as the Ruahine, Kaweka and Kaimanawa ranges.

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How to cite this page:

Andy Dennis, 'Mountains - How mountains form', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 December 2022)

Story by Andy Dennis, published 24 Sep 2007, updated 1 Feb 2017