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Taranaki region


The Taranaki region, with its distinctive Mount Taranaki and black sand beaches, lies on the west coast of the North Island. The land area of 7,200 square kilometres represents 3% of New Zealand and its growing population of around 110,00 is approximately 2.5% of the country’s population.


Taranaki’s generally high-quality environment and strong economy, based on the region’s natural and physical resources, contribute to its attractive lifestyle.                                  

The main landforms are the volcanic ring plain centred on Mount Taranaki, the hill country to the east of the ring plain, the coastal terraces and the coastal and marine environment. About 60% of the region is used for intensive farming, predominantly dairying. Taranaki has 300 km of coastline, exposed to the west with high energy wave and wind conditions. The coast is dominated by cliffs and coastal reefs but includes sandy beaches, river mouths and estuaries.

Since the 1970s major single-point discharges to the coast from industries and communities have decreased from 25 to 5. The region’s exposed coastline and improvements in wastewater treatment mean the region’s marine waters have improved over the past 40 years and are in excellent condition.

The biggest influence on coastal water quality is sediment and sand movement which is continually supplied by erosion of Mount Taranaki and the eastern hill country, and Tasman Sea currents. The effects of urban and agricultural runoff and industrial wastes can be carried from our rivers and streams to the sea. The effects are most noticeable after heavy rain.

The Taranaki Regional Council measures seawater quality at popular coastal beaches during summer (November to March). The results are consistently better than the national average.

Water quality at monitored beaches are typically safe for swimming, although the Medical Officer of Health advises that bacterial counts are high after heavy rainfall and recreational use should be reduced for two-three days after heavy rainfall.


Monitored beaches in the Taranaki region

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