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Richard Davis Meteorological Records 1839-1851


The journals of Richard Davis, a young farmer and lay preacher from Dorset, have been identified as the earliest continuous land-based weather records currently known in New Zealand, beginning in 1839.

In two weather journals covering 1839-1844 and 1849-1851, Davis recorded temperature and barometric pressure and described cloud cover, wind speed and direction and extreme weather (including heavy frosts and a snowfall that persisted for two days on the hills around the Waimate North mission station). The quality of Davis’s observations has allowed NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) climate scientists to develop a better understanding of the historical weather record of northern New Zealand.

Archive Location

Printed item featuring a photomechanical portrait of Reverend Richard Davis.

Illustration of Swarraton, Waimate, Bay of Islands 5-1951

Cover of first Register covering 1839-44, 1848-49

First page of recorded measurements Jan and Feb 1839


Catalogue Record

Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, Auckland


Snow in Northland. On 30 July 1849, Richard Davis, an Anglican missionary in the Bay of Islands, made this surprising entry in his daily weather diary.