Climatic fluctuations recorded in Antarctica and Greenland during the last deglaciation (18–10 ka) differ markedly in their timing. It remains controversial whether local climate fluctuations recorded in southern mid-latitudes relate primarily to northern or southern polar records. We present multiproxy results from New Zealand that show strong evidence for a minor cooling or slowdown in the rate of warming at the time of the North Atlantic late glacial interstadial. The Younger Dryas chronozone in New Zealand was a period of resumed warming and increased westerly airflow. Differences between the hemispheres at this time were probably due to a reorganization of the thermohaline circulation system and associated changes in the meridional temperature gradient.