New Zealand’s long rocky coastline, windy and changeable weather, and harbours with sand bars have made safe navigation difficult.

Part of story: Shipwrecks


Anyone wanting to explore New Zealand’s scenic back country on foot can use a wide range of tracks and huts.

Part of story: Tramping

Subantarctic islands

Wild weather, vast seabird colonies and brightly flowering megaherbs make New Zealand’s subantarctic islands a unique environment.

Part of story: Subantarctic islands

Streets and lighting

Blundering along streets after dark in the 19th century, pedestrians risked banging into a cow or falling into open sewers. Streets were quagmires in winter and swirled with dust in the summer.

Part of story: Streets and lighting

Shelter on farms

People, plants and animals all need shelter from extremes of weather. New Zealand farmers have planted their land with shelter belts – lines of trees that protect stock, crops and pasture from wind, heat and cold.

Part of story: Shelter on farms

Hazards, safety and guidebooks

The weather is of prime interest to trampers, as they are out in it.

Part of story: Tramping

Open ocean

Life in the open ocean seems very remote to us because it is largely unseen. This mysterious world is home to a host of highly specialised creatures.

Part of story: Open ocean


New Zealand’s rugged, weather-beaten coastline was perilous to ships arriving in the mid-1800s, and many were wrecked before lighthouses were considered an urgent government concern.

Part of story: Lighthouses

Benefits of shelter

Benefits for pastures and crops Planted shelter belts slow down the wind. This reduces moisture loss from soil and plants in summer and autumn, and

Part of story: Shelter on farms


The long white cloud There are many words for clouds, but the most common is kapua. Another word, ao, is used in the Māori name for New Zealand: Aotearoa – long white cloud. In one tradition

Part of story: Tāwhirimātea – the weather


Te Ihorangi is the god who personifies rain, while Hinewai is the female personification of light misty rain.

Part of story: Tāwhirimātea – the weather


Tokelau’s three populated atolls – Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu – have only a tiny habitable area.

Part of story: Tokelauans