Taranaki is a region west of New Zealand's North Island, administered by the Taranaki Regional Council. It is named for its main geographical feature, the stratovolcano of Mount Taranaki. The main centre is the city of New Plymouth. The New Plymouth District has over 65% of the population of Taranaki. New Plymouth is in North Taranaki, along with Inglewood and Waitara. South Taranaki towns include Hawera, Stratford and Eltham.
Taranaki is on the North Island's west coast, surrounding the volcanic peak. The region has an area of 7258 square km. The large bays north-west and south-west of Cape Egmont are the prosaically named North Taranaki Bight and South Taranaki Bight.
Mount Taranaki, or Mount Egmont, the second-highest mountain in the North Island, is the dominant feature of the region. A Maori legend says that Taranaki previously lived with the Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu mountains of the central North Island but fled to its current location after a battle with Tongariro. A near-perfect cone, it last erupted in the mid-18th century. The mountain and its immediate surroundings form Egmont National Park.
Maori had called the mountain Taranaki for many centuries. Captain James Cook renamed it Egmont after the Earl of Egmont, the recently retired First Lord of the Admiralty who had encouraged his expedition. The mountain has two alternative official names, Mount Taranaki and Mount Egmont.
The region is exceptionally fertile, thanks to generous rainfall and the rich volcanic soil. Dairy farming predominates, with Fonterra's Whareroa milk factory just outside of Hawera producing the most significant volume of dairy ingredients from a single factory anywhere in the world. The way the land mass projects into the Tasman Sea with northerly, westerly and southerly exposures results in many excellent surfing and windsurfing locations, some considered world-class.
Taranaki's favourite Pet Directory | Pet Friendly Accommodation | Dog Kennels & Catteries | Veterinary Clinics & Hospitals.