Dominated by Mount Taranaki, an almost perfect volcanic cone from which the region takes its name, Taranaki is noted for dairying, and its petro-chemical and engineering industries.
Taranaki lies on the North Island’s west coast. Its only city is New Plymouth, population 74,000, which is about a 5 hour drive or 40 minute flight from either Auckland or Wellington.
Population (2013 Census)
% born outside NZ:
Average house price Dec 2019:
New Plymouth $510,000
South Taranaki $280,000
In M¨¡ori legend, Taranaki was a mountain god who lived alongside the North Island’s three other main mountains (Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngaruhoe) on the Central Plateau. Taranaki quarrelled with Tongariro for the heart of pretty Mount Pihanga, and after losing the ensuing battle strode off to its current location, creating the Whanganui River in its wake.
These days the 2,518m/8,261ft peak is the central icon for the region, dominating views and delivering a wide range of visitor and lifestyle experiences.
Taranaki’s landscape offers everything from mountain to sea and is renowned for its lifestyle.
Taranaki offers a wide variety of affordable housing options ranging from apartment living to traditional bungalows on private sections or farms and lifestyle blocks in the countryside. New Plymouth, in the north of the region, delivers an urban experience, and towns dotted around the mountain offers more laid-back rural and smaller-community living, though all options rate well in terms of affordability.
The region combines great outdoor adventure opportunities with an active arts and cultural scene and a number of fine gardens and parks.
Egmont National Park is the most prominent amenity, offering tramping, skiing, and outdoor pursuits, while the Taranaki coast has rugged cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches, ideal for swimming, boating, diving, fishing and other water sports. Surfing is also popular here, with dozens of renowned surf breaks around Surf Highway 45. While the prevailing south-westerly winds can mean cool water temperatures, they also power some of the most reliable and powerful waves.
New Plymouth city is home to one of New Zealand’s best contemporary art museums - the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and the central Pukekura Park is home to the annual WOMAD festival (World of Music Arts and Dance), a family-friendly Festival of Lights and numerous international performance events. Beyond these events, a number of garden festivals and major sporting events keep the locals well entertained.
Key industries in the area are agriculture and oil and gas – known locally as white gold and black gold. Dairy farming dominates the land, and the second-largest milk treatment factory in the southern hemisphere is located in the town of Hawera.
The country’s only operating oil and gas reserves are both onshore and just offshore in the Taranaki bight. Supporting these sectors is a thriving and innovative engineering sector and their strength also fuel thriving professional and hospitality sectors.
On the west of the North Island, Taranaki is dominated by the Tasman Sea and its central mountain peak.
The region ranks highly in sunshine hours and surf, with the climate being moist but temperate - usually sunny and windy with well-distributed annual rainfall and moderate temperatures. Average summer afternoon temperatures in New Plymouth are 21-22°C; falling to around 13-14°C in winter.
Many migrants have already made Taranaki home. The table below shows where these migrants are moving from and demonstrates the diverse population you can expect to find in Taranaki.
It can be comforting to know there are others, similar to you, who have experienced the move.
Country of origin
No. of migrant
UK and Ireland
|Middle East and Africa||1,320|
|Europe (excl. UK and Ireland)||1,182|
Now that you know about what Taranaki has to offer, have a read about everyday life in the region, and services and support you can access.
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