Story: Ocean currents and tides

M2 tidal model

The gravitational pull of the moon drags a wave of water around the ocean’s surface. It is referred to as the M2 tidal constituent, and it moves continuously anticlockwise around New Zealand. In this diagram red illustrates high tide and blue low tide. Cook Strait's strong tidal currents occur because high water arrives on the Pacific Ocean side of the strait five hours before it arrives at the Tasman Sea side. Because it is high tide on one side and low tide on the other, water is continuously sloshing to and fro through the strait.

Using this item

NIWA – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Craig Stevens and Stephen Chiswell, 'Ocean currents and tides - Tides', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 July 2024)

Story by Craig Stevens and Stephen Chiswell, published 12 Jun 2006