365 days of gratitude


Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

At 10:07 tonight NZ time, the sun will be at its northern most point.

Tomorrow won’t be noticeably lighter and we often get more wintry weather after the solstice than before it.

But day by day the days will be getting lighter and I’m grateful for that.

Shortest day, longest night


Today marks the winter solstice.

At 10:51 tonight the sun will be at its furthermost point north of the equator.

We’ve had a few frosts but the worst of the winter weather usually comes much later than the solstice.

Shortest day, longest night, Matariki


Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day when we have a couple of seconds less daylight than we did yesterday and will tomorrow.

It’s also getting to the end of Matariki:

Matariki is the Maori name for the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster or the Seven Sisters and what is referred to as the traditional Maori New Year. The Maori New Year is marked by the rise of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year and the New Year is marked at the sighting of the next new moon which occurs during June. Matariki events occur throughout New Zealand and the timing of the events varies depending on Iwi and geographical differences.

Some Iwi recognize and celebrate a different cluster of stars called Puanga or Puaka. Matariki, Puanga or Puaka are generally celebrated during the months of June and July. Common principles apply to all celebrations whether they are Matariki, Puanga or Puaka. The duration of events and activities varies from a few hours to two months. . .

Whatever we call it, mid winter is a good excuse for a celebration.

However, in the south the snow many people will be putting their energy into keeping warm and fed and looking after their stock so any festivities will have to wait.

If winter’s here . . .


Today is the winter solstice when the sun reaches its northern most point from the equator.

It’s our shortest day and longest night.

Tomorrow we’ll have about 1 second more of daylight than we had today.

Alas that doesn’t mean the worst of winter is behind us.

Just as we often get more summer-like weather in late January and February than in December and early January, it’s common to get more wintry weather after the shortest day than before it.

But, as Shelley observed: If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?



Shortest day longest night


Today’s the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night.

The Carter Observatory says:

The Winter Solstice is on June 21 at 18:46 (6:46pm); this is when the Sun is at its most Northerly point in the sky. At the middle of the day on June 21, it reaches its lowest altitude, from the Northern horizon, for the year.

Brian Carter, Senior Astronomer at the Carter Observatory says, “This means that the longest night is June 21/22 and the shortest day is June 21”.

Jamie McKay discussed this on the Farming Show with Met Service weather ambassador Bob McDavitt on Friday.

He said that in there will be 9 hours 31 minutes of daylight in Auckland and in Dunedin just 8 hours 26 minutes.

The solstice doesn’t mean the coldest weather is over. Just as the warmest weather is usually in January and February after the summer solstice, the coldest days of winter are usually in July, after the winter one.

Memories from school geography tell me the lag in warming and cooling has something to do with being an island nation.

Water heats up and slows down more slowly than land so being surrounded by sea has a tempering affect on temperatures.

But that’s a very rusty memory and affirmations or corrections are welcomed.

We were at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland on June 21 in 1982 when the temperature wasn’t much warmer than we’d have expected in New Zealand.

Four years ago we were in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain, in June. Temperatures were much higher and children celebrated the summer solstice by making Juans and Juanas, which were paraded round the town then, like guys, burnt on a giant fire.

espana 110

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