New Zealand’s big dry

New Zealand has sweltered through one of driest and hottest summers on record. Jenny Dawn Morris and Mark McKinney left London to experience it first hand.



We escaped the bitter cold of England recently to see family and travel New Zealand. New Zealand was as beautiful and picturesque as always, but, we couldn’t help but notice the devastating effect on New Zealand rivers caused by the drought.

It only rained twice the whole six weeks we were there, once in Coromandel and once in Franz Josef, where at the most it a was heavy drizzle. There were rivers at the top of the South Island from Nelson down to Franz Josef that are usually full of deep running water that were reduced to a tiny slither on grey rocks. Some are just dry river beds. A lot of New Zealand, especially Auckland, hadn’t seen rain since Christmas day.

Just north of Wellington is a popular white water rafting destination called ‘River Valley’, where we stayed  overnight. Our bus driver had warned us that the river was only two feet deep and not to waste our money as it wouldn’t have been the white water experience that it usually is.

There were fire risks  in Queenstown –  the grass was dry and yellow instead of green and full of life.  A lot of the grounds and gardens had cracked dry dirt and many farmers are relying on sprinklers so their crops wouldn’t fail. Many farmers are worried this may lead to devastating circumstances on crops and livestock. Hose-pipes are banned around the country.

Returning to London in late March was a shock. The announcement at the airport said: “Welcome to London Heathrow Airport, the local time is 5pm and the temperature is four degrees.” In early April, it snowed, and reports said it had been the coldest March for 50 years and worst Easter since 1917.  Scientists have said this is due to the Arctic warming up and pushing cold air down towards UK, Europe and Africa. There has been a significant change since the scientists started observing this in 2007.

Will New Zealand ever get rain? Will polar bears be seen walking the streets of London? A survey  shows half he British population would like to emigrate due to the harshness if the weather. At the moment the weather seems to be extreme no matter where you go.