Yes, there are a few differences:
– in summer, you’ll only get one crop of zucchini, cucumber and beans in – in the north of the North Island, we can get two
– as the hot part of your summer will no doubt be shorter than in the North, we would recommend buying well-established plants of fruiting vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums and chillis to start with. The other alternative is to grow them in a greenhouse.
– subtropical fruiting trees eg citrus, tamarillo, passionfruit won’t thrive
What you will grow better than food gardeners in the North are:
– the brassica family – kales, cabbages, caulis. Remember these are winter crops though, BUT we would recommend getting them in in February – 1-2 months earlier than in the North.
– try kalettes, the cross between kale and brussels sprouts, a new vegetable that definitely can’t be grown in the North. And of course brussels sprouts only do well in cold.
– peas can be grown in summer because it’s cooler – in the North we can only grow them in spring and autumn
– fruit trees/bushes like blackcurrants and apricots grow best in cooler climates
– carrots and parsnips taste better due to the winter chill
– any pests and diseases are killed off in the cool
All the best 🙂