Tekapo sunniest town in the south

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 11/01/2014

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Lake Tekapo is the new sunshine capital of the South Island, eclipsing regular sunny towns Blenheim and Nelson.

It had 2482 hours of sunshine last year, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) figures show.

The news had Mackenzie Mayor Claire Barlow crowing.

"Of course I'm going to remind my fellow mayors of Nelson and Marlborough of the fact we beat them," she said.

She said the sunshine label was "another string to the district's bow".

Lake Tekapo is home to Mt John Observatory, which hosts the country's biggest telescope. In 2012, the International Dark Sky Association granted the Mackenzie night sky heritage reserve status.

"Tekapo had the clearest skies at night ... and now it appears we have the South Island's sunniest skies in the day. Bring it on," Mrs Barlow said.

Tekapo Springs general manager Cathy Hemsworth said that she was surprised by the result.

"It certainly hasn't been such a good start to the New Year, weather-wise. It's been cold, windy, and rainy. The sun has been out over the last couple of days, but people are still wrapping up."

She said weather played a big factor in tourism.

"A lot of New Zealand's recreational tourism depends on it, people make their decisions on whether they're going out based on the weather," Ms Hemsworth said.

The top towns nationally in the sunshine stakes were Whakatane (2792 hours), New Plymouth (2668 hours) and Gisborne (2483 hours).

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- The Timaru Herald

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