Apart from the far south and west of the South Island, New Zealand receives at least 1,800 hours of sunshine a year, on average. The geographical pattern of sunshine is caused by the interplay of the prevailing westerly winds and New Zealand’s mountain chains. As humid air approaches from the west, it drops rain on the mountains on the west side. It then descends to the east where it warms and the clouds evaporate, resulting in drier, sunnier weather.
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