Kiwis to soak up extra rays today with summer solstice, the longest day of the year

Time to soak in those extra rays of sunshine - today is the summer solstice, the longest day in the year.

The event occurs today in the southern hemisphere and sees the sun reach its highest point in the sky, giving people extra sunlight and a shorter night.

The summer solstice, also known as midsummer, occurs when Earth is tilted at an axis of 23.4 degrees relative to its orbit around the sun.

It's good news for the North Island, too, with weather forecast to be fine or becoming fine today, according to MetService. Meanwhile, the South Island is expected to see some cloud and rain today.

Gisborne, the first city in the world to see the sun each day, will get approximately 14 hours and 52 minutes of daylight today thanks to this morning's 5:40am sunrise and a forecasted 8:32pm sunset.

The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol [sun] and sistere [to stand still] and the twice-yearly event takes place between June 20 to 22 for the northern hemisphere, and December 20 to 22 in the southern hemisphere.