Marlborough Annual Rainfall
Source NIWA, National Climate Centre, Wellington
Why is the NZDFI based in Marlborough?
Early research emphasis by NZDFI members has been focused on Marlborough, including finding mature on-farm plantings and former trials as well as establishing new trials of those highly durable species that might or might not flourish in different climatic regions of Marlborough, as the region
offers a diversity of climatic and geological sub-regions.
One of these sub-regions is South Marlborough, located between Blenheim and Kekerengu. This area is strongly influenced by its location, with mountains to the north, south and west that effectively create a rain shadow making
it one of the driest in the country (refer map).
South Marlborough has high sunshine hours and mild winters with only occasional light frosts on the coastal hills and heavier more frequent frosts inland. Snowfall is rare. However, South Marlborough is exposed to northwest and westerly winds throughout spring and early summer.
winds combine with a rainfall deficit throughout the dry summer months to result in a long history of drought, with the period from 1997 to 2007 being the driest decade on record. However, this climate is also ideal for grape production and in the last twenty five years over 25,000 hectares of vineyards have been planted in Marlborough with the region now internationally famous for its distinctive sauvignon blanc wine. Community concern about the potential for groundwater contamination by millions of vineyard posts brought into focus the unsustainability of continued use of CCA treated posts. Therefore, grower interest and support for the NZDFI has developed within the region.