Minority want February break

Penny Wardle asks people on the streets of Blenheim whether they would like to see summer holidays shifted to February, when the weather seems to be more settled.

Tim Barton, of Grovetown: ''I don't think it will work. Christmas would become something like Easter then there'd be New Year. People would then have to go back to work or school until the weather was perfect. It wouldn't be efficient, there'd be a lot of downtime. It's much easier to have the holidays at one time.

Sharon Elrick, of Blenheim: It would be nice to have good weather for the school holidays but it might be more disruptive for the children. Once you've been swimming, to the pool and the movies, it can be hard to find things to do in bad weather.

Glenn Brown, of Blenheim: My kids have always had Kiwi summers of the beach and bach. Our family are surf lifeguards so we camp at Whites Bay and have family at Whangamata. They're out in all weather and swim even when it's cold.

Gianna Thomson, 9, pupil at Rapaura School: ''I like to have good weather when I can have my friends around to our outside pool. When the weather's not good, I beat my mum at mini-golf.'

Almost a quarter of New Zealand adults want to move the traditional summer holiday to February, according to a survey by Tourism Bay of Plenty.

Twenty-four per cent of respondents say they would prefer to move the summer break, including the school holidays, to February, when they perceive the weather to be generally better. However, a larger group, 38 per cent, are against the change, with an equal number undecided.

Tourism Bay of Plenty general manager Rhys Arrowsmith said settled weather played a big part in holiday enjoyment, with 40 per cent of Kiwis saying that wet weather was their ultimate peeve on holiday, while 20 per cent felt traffic was the most annoying.

However, the weather statistics for Marlborough do not back up the perception that the weather is better in February.

A look at the MetService website shows that, on average, in Blenheim the hottest month is January, with an average temperature of 17.9 degrees Celsius, based on readings from 1930-2000. February follows with 17.8C then December with 16.7C.

The sunniest month is January, with 261 hours of sunshine, followed by December with 246 hours then February with 227.

The driest month in Blenheim is February, with 45mm of rain, followed by March with 46mm then December with 47mm.

Tourism Bay of Plenty's research asked people what their preferred holiday activities were: 35 per cent said going to the beach, including swimming and sunbathing, 21 per cent said they enjoyed food and wine, 12 per cent enjoyed reading, 12 per cent enjoyed doing nothing, 9 per cent enjoyed water sports, 5 per cent enjoyed traditional sport and 4 per cent said they enjoyed electronic entertainment such as television, movies and smartphones.

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said a new anticyclone would bring mostly fine and settled weather for much of the rest of the week.

The National Institute of Water and Atmosphere Research is predicting near-average temperatures, rainfall, soil moisture and river flows for Marlborough for the three months February to April.

The Marlborough Express