The Taranaki region lies on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand with a land area of 723,610 hectares (3% of New Zealand’s area) and a population of approx 105,000 people
Taranaki is a unique location with four distinct landforms making up the region. The The central icon is Mount Taranaki (Egmont (2518m)), which provides fertile free-draining volcanic soils which support intensive pastoral farming. The Taranaki hill country to the east is steeply dissected and prone to soil erosion, but can support well managed pastoral farming and commercial forestry. There are two coastal terraces along the north and south Taranaki coast. The fourth major landform is the Coastal environment which is dominated by high energy wave and wind conditions as the region is exposed to the west. The Taranaki region has a temperate climate with abundant rainfall.
Three districts make up the Taranaki region: New Plymouth District (population 69,600), Stratford District (8,460) and South Taranaki District (27,100). The two main population centres are New Plymouth (49,500) and Hawera (11,000). In 1996, approximately two-thirds of the region’s population lived in urban settlements of over 1000 people. The general trend has been a decrease in the population of smaller rural towns and a further concentration of the population in north Taranaki.
The region relies on its natural and physical resources for its social and economic well-being. Over 2081 dairy herds operate in the region and produce almost 20% of New Zealand’s total milk solids. Sheep and beef farming is largely confined to the hill country along with exotic forest plantations and indigenous forest cover. Oil and gas reserves, including Kapuni and the larger Offshore Maui gas field, and the associated processing, distribution and export of hydrocarbons also contribute to the regional economy.
Over 300 rivers and streams flow from the slopes of Mt Taranaki/Egmont in a distinctive radial pattern. Eleven major river systems drain the eastern hill country. There are ten lakes (greater than eight hectares) in the region. Taranaki’s fresh water resources are highly valued and extensively used, and are under increasing pressure to meet the needs of agriculture, industry and domestic use.
Taranaki enjoys a high standard of natural air quality thanks to the relatively windy and exposed nature of the region, the dispersed population, and lack of heavy industrialisation or high motor vehicle densities. The region’s ‘fresh clean air’ makes a significant contribution to the quality of Taranaki’s environment.
There is almost 300 kilometres of coastline and management of the coastal marine area (from mean high water springs to the regional boundary 22 kilometres offshore) rests with the Taranaki Regional Council and the Minister of Conservation.
Taranaki has an extremely diverse land base, ranging from fertile well drained plains and terraces, to steep, erosion prone and relatively infertile hill country and mountain slopes. Much of Taranaki has been developed for agriculture, particularly pastoral farming. Over 60% of the region is in grassland or crops, and nearly 40% of the land area is in indigenous or exotic forest cover.
Taranaki is such a great place to live and visit. There is both surf and snow so close to each other. There is a never ending amount of activities that residents and tourists can partake in. If you want to learn more of Taranaki please visit the VentureTaranaki Website