New Zealand swelters as 'extreme' heatwave hits

Beachgoers cool off at Bronte Beach in Sydney. While New Zealand's high temperatures were not likely to match Australia's last week, the increased heat drew attention to what people are accustomed to and the importance of how buildings are designed.
Beachgoers cool off at Bronte Beach in Sydney. While New Zealand's high temperatures were not likely to match Australia's last week, the increased heat drew attention to what people are accustomed to and the importance of how buildings are designed.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WELLINGTON (DPA) - The heatwave which sent records tumbling in Australia last week brought sizzling temperatures to its Pacific neighbour New Zealand on Monday (Jan 28).

"It's been a hot day across New Zealand with temperatures reaching the mid 30s (degrees Celsius) and reliable private weather stations recording as high as 36 and 37 degrees in some parts of Hawke's Bay in the North Island and 35 and 36 degrees in some parts of Marlborough in the South Island," meteorologists Weather Watch said in a statement.

Dr Alex Macmillan, a senior lecturer in Environmental Health at the University of Otago, urged people to take care in the unusually high temperatures.

"As we continue to see each year breaking new records for average and highest temperatures, climate change begins to take its health toll in the form of more days of extreme heat," she said in a statement.

While New Zealand's high temperatures were not likely to match Australia's last week, the increased heat drew attention to what people are accustomed to and the importance of how buildings are designed.

Australia's heatwave saw records set across many parts of the country, led to fires, left homes and businesses without power, and caused tennis fans at the Australian Open to swelter in the Melbourne sun.

The national average temperature in New Zealand in 2018 made it the second warmest year on record, with the country also sweating through its hottest summer on record.