Hot November just the begining
Temperatures were above average for most of the country in November, and particularly warm in Fiordland, the southern Lakes, Westland, Manawatu, Taranaki, the Central Plateau, Tauranga, Auckland and southwest Northland, Niwa said.
Last month's warm temperatures look set to continue through summer, while South Island farmers might be getting some relief from the endless dry conditions.
Record high mean temperatures for November were recorded at 16 places - from Dargaville in the north to as far south as Secretary Island. Highest average November daily maximums were recorded at 21 places, with temperatures more like those usual in December.
The few areas with more normal temperatures were some eastern parts of Otago, Canterbury, Marlborough, Gisborne and northern parts of Northland.
Record or near-record low November rainfall totals were recorded in the southeast of the South Island, with rainfall less than normal in most of the rest of the South Island, Niwa said.
In contrast, the southeast of the North Island had well above normal rainfall, with more than double normal in coastal areas.
Many North Island areas had been on course for near-record low November rainfall totals, until rain fell in the last week of the month.
In its outlook for the next three months, Niwa said temperatures were equally likely to be near average or above average in the north and east of the North Island and the east of the South Island, with a 40 per cent chance of either outcome. In the rest of the country there was a 45 to 50 per cent chance temperatures would be above average.
Rainfall totals were most likely to be near normal, with a 45 per cent chance, in most of the country. The exception was the north of the North Island where rainfall was equally likely to be near or above normal - with a 40 per cent chance for each.
Places with highest recorded mean air temperatures in November included Dargaville with 17.7 degrees Celsius, Tauranga airport with 17.7C, Masterton with 15.8C, Palmerston North with 16.2C, Westport airport with 15.5C, and Nelson with 16.3C.
Places with highest mean maximum air temperatures included Dargaville with 21.9C, Tauranga airport with 22.3C, Mangere in Auckland with 21.8C, Ruakura in Hamilton with 23.6C, Palmerston North with 20.9C and Nelson with 20.8C.
Mangere had its highest daily maximum November temperature on record with 26.8C, as did Ruakura with 28.4C.
Sea surface temperatures had been warmer than normal for 11 consecutive months, and were expected to stay above average around the whole country for the coming three months.