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Land and environment

Highly rural/remote areas dominate New Zealand’s land area (139,468 km2 or 53.1 percent of the total area). They include a wide climate range, from remote Fiordland with a mean annual rainfall between 4,000 and 10,000mm per year (1971–2000), to parts of inland Otago where the rainfall is less than 500mm per year. Much of this area is uninhabited, or very sparsely settled, since it includes mountainous areas and New Zealand’s vast conservation estate. Long-term mean temperatures (1971–2000) in highly rural/remote areas varied from 8 to 13oC in the South Island and between 11 and 16oC in the North Island. The lowest temperature recorded in this profile area in the South Island during this period was -15.6oC at Lake Tekapo. In some highly rural/remote areas of the North Island the temperature range is much less extreme, particularly in the Far North.

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