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  • Location: City of Gales, New Zealand, 150m ASL
  • Location: City of Gales, New Zealand, 150m ASL

This has been an entertaining, ongoing saga. The small town mentality...this title seems to really matter to them!


Whakatane has lost its fight with the government boffins to be crowned New Zealand's sunshine capital.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) issued test findings yesterday which, it claims, show the sunshine recorder at Whakatane's oxidation ponds is making faulty measurements.

Whakatane's recorder logged up 2703 sunshine hours in 2008, well ahead of second-placed Blenheim with 2505 hours.

But Niwa said that was too good to be true.

Setting up its own recorder alongside Whakatane's, Niwa ran tests over 30 days, from March 11 to April 9 inclusive, and yesterday's report says the Whakatane instrument notched up an average of 12.1 minutes a day more sunshine than Niwa's.

Over the 366 days of 2008, that still only comes to an extra 73 hours, leaving Whakatane outshining Blenheim, but Niwa says the faulty readings are enough to invalidate the Eastern Bay result.

Mary Hermanson, marketing manager of Eastern Bay economic development agency Toi-EDA, still reckoned Whakatane was New Zealand's sunniest spot but said - whatever the result - the publicity the issue had generated had been a huge plus for the region.

Whakatane's recorder has now been adjusted to measure the golden rays in the same way as Niwa's, and she was happy to wait until the end of 2009 for the sunshine crown to come to "its rightful place".


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