We present chironomid-based temperature reconstructions from lake sediments deposited between ca 26,600 cal yr BP and 24,500 cal yr BP from Lyndon Stream, South Island, New Zealand. Summer (February mean) temperatures averaged 1 °C cooler, with a maximum inferred cooling of 3.7 °C. These estimates corroborate macrofossil and beetle-based temperature inferences from the same site and suggest climate amelioration (an interstadial) at this time. Other records from the New Zealand region also show a large degree of variability during the late Otiran glacial sequence (34,000-18,000 cal yr BP) including a phase of warming at the MIS 2/3 transition and a maximum cooling that did not occur until the global LGM (ca 20,000 cal yr BP). The very moderate cooling identified here at the MIS 2/3 transition confirms and enhances the long-standing discrepancy in New Zealand records between pollen and other proxies. Low abundances (<20%) of canopy tree pollen in records from late MIS 3 to the end of MIS 2 cannot be explained by the minor (<5 °C) cooling inferred from this and other studies unless other environmental parameters are considered. Further work is required to address this critical issue. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.