In the North Island the annual rainfall is fifty-one inches, and in the South Island forty-six inches.
One of the rainiest places is on the west coast of the South Island.
In its climatic conditions New Zealand has been likened to Italy, with which it closely corresponds in latitude.
To a large extent New Zealand is a rainy land, but as the majority of its precipitations are at night and in the early morning, parts of it have sunshine records equal to some of the best obtained in Italy.
The climate of New Zealand is both varied and healthful, due to the Dominion's isolation, wide range of latitude, and the proximity of all its parts to the ocean.
As for its healthful qualities, for the last twenty years the country's average annual death rate has been less than ten per one thousand inhabitants, one of the lowest death rates ever recorded anywhere.
It is not intended as a guide-book, and mention of many places of interest more local than general is omitted in preference to the most important attractions.The purpose of the chapters following is to afford a panoramic view, if that expression may be used, of the group of islands that constitute New Zealand, and that form far-flung outposts of the British Empire.I take pleasure in acknowledging my indebtedness to the following sources of information:— The Thermal Wonderland—Rotorua—The Haka and the Poi—A Strange Outdoor Kitchen—Whakarewarewa's Geysers—Pantomime in a Maori Cooking Reserve—Wonderful Hamurana—Gloomy Tikitere—The Long Swim of Hinemoa—The Cold Lakes down beneath the Southern Cross, in the region of fabled Lemuria, is a long, bright land; a land of wondrous beauty and pleasing variety.Another distinguishing feature of New Zealand's climate is its windiness.Its mountains are the playground of terrific winds, and its four thousand miles of coast-line is pounded by some of the heaviest seas known to the world.There inroading sea and straggling lake, that fill ice-carved basins terminating far below the tides, form pictures of wild and captivating beauty. There the weird and the beautiful are seen side by side; fire and steam near snow and ice; spouting geyser beside cold stream; boiling, sputtering mud adjoining still, translucent depths.Such, and much more, I found in months of travel in the Dominion of New Zealand, "The Long White Cloud," "The Far-stretching Land"; a land of the moa and the Maori. No other country of the world has so great a variety of scenic charms within so small a compass.At Hokitika, a worthy rival of Washington's Neah Bay, the annual rainfall has averaged one hundred and fifteen inches for more than a quarter of a century. In Dusky Sound an annual precipitation of more than two hundred inches has been recorded.Despite the assertion that New Zealand has a plentiful and regular rainfall, many parts less favored with moisture than Hokitika would like some of its rainy days, and none more so than Otago, where irrigation has been promoted to relieve the dryness of tussock plains.Some of the glories detailed had departed with the advance of settlement.Further, some extollers of New Zealand scenery had exaggerated; others had misplaced words of praise, applying them to hills and deforested mountains in a delirium that would have been more excusable in descriptions of the shadowy lakes and sounds and the glittering, ice-worn Alps.