Our memories of the New Zealand summer are of day after day of baking in the glorious sun. After such a non-event summer last year, our spirits were uplifted when there were forecasts of a real Kiwi summer this year – and it is joyful to wake to blue skies on a warm morning. However, the effects of the long dry are now affecting every one of us – hand-held hoses only for watering the garden and the threat of expensive produce in the year ahead as production costs soar with the extreme summer temperatures. It is years since we have seen such sun-bleached landscape, with plants going to seed and turning brown ahead of autumn. Yesterday there was 1mm of drizzle – the first “rain” in many weeks. Farmers report that they need 150 times this much rain over a seven day period to regenerate their pastures.