Welcome to New Plymouth
Located on the North Island's west coast, New Plymouth District has a population of almost 70,000 - nearly two thirds of the total population of the Taranaki region. It is situated midway between the major metropolitan centres of Auckland and Wellington and only a four and a half hour drive along scenic highways from either of these - or 50 minutes by air.
New Plymouth is surrounded by a spectacularly beautiful environment from its stunning coastline offering some of the best surfing conditions in the country, and a marine park conservation area, to impressive Mount Taranaki and the Egmont National Park which is a mecca for trampers and climbers. The area's climate is ideal for the parks, reserves and gardens which have become a highlight of the district and a drawcard for visitors.
The diverse local economy includes agriculture with a strong dairying emphasis as well as aquaculture, floraculture, horticulture and forestry. Also very important are petrochemicals and energy, heavy engineering, manufacturing, education, leisure and recreation. Tourism has had an increasingly international profile because of the impressive range of natural attractions close by.
The energy sector is particularly important and the New Plymouth District provides the base for New Zealand's major oil, gas and petrochemical industries which in turn provides a solid commercial and employment base for the region. Overseas investment has been encouraged and has created a flourishing energy industry and associated businesses.
Frequent direct flights operate out of the modern New Plymouth Airport to the major international gateways of Auckland, Wellington and other cities. There are also connections to east coast centres and the South Island. Air New Zealand is the major airline operating through Taranaki and uses New Plymouth Airport as its service base for its North Island operations, flying 33-seater Saab aircraft.
New Plymouth has the only deepwater port on New Zealand's west coast. Port Taranaki is one of the country's largest ports on a cargo tonnage basis with more than five million tonnes of trade each year.Maori Legend
Maori history recalls how Te Maunga o Taranaki (Mount Taranaki) once lived in the centre of New Zealand's North Island with other mountain gods, Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Nearby stood the lovely maid Pihanga, with her cloak of deep green bush and all the mountain gods were in love with her.
What had been a long, peaceful existence for the mountain gods was disturbed when Taranaki could no longer keep his feelings in control and dared to make advances to Pihanga. A mighty conflict between Tongariro and Taranaki ensued, which shook the foundations of the earth. The mountains belched forth their anger and darkness clouded the sky.
When peace finally came to the land, Tongariro, considerably lowered in height, stood close by Pihanga's side. Taranaki, wild with grief and anger tore himself from his roots with a mighty wrench and left his homeland. Weeping, he plunged recklessly towards the setting sun, gouging out the Wanganui River as he went, and upon reaching the ocean, turned north. While he slumbered overnight, the Pouakai Ranges thrust out a spur and trapped Taranaki in the place he now rests.
Today, the majestic mountain, known as either Mount Egmont or
Taranaki, surrounded by lush, green countryside, blue sea and
skies, protects the fertile region of Taranaki. It also provides
unique recreational and educational opportunities for the region's
residents and visitors. Dominating our weather and everyday life
with its ever changing moods, the mountain provides excellent
climbing (with care and planning), skiing, tramping and photography.
Maori history predicts that one day Taranaki will return to Pihanga
and that it is unwise to live along the path between the two mountains.
When covered with a veil of mist and rain, Taranaki is said to
be weeping for his lost Pihanga. But for now the mountain stands
amid its own cloak of deep green bush, a majestic icon for the
region. Already well known for its unpredictability, Mount Egmont/Taranaki
may some day provide a spectacular challenge.