Welcome to Taranaki
To read articles on Taranaki and people who have moved to the region in New Zealand Immigration's LINKZ magazine click here (PDF). There are also a growing number of stories about others who have rediscovered what lifestyle really means in Taranaki in our Case Studies.
Finding a home
Taranaki offers a wide variety of affordable housing ranging from apartment living in city and town centres, traditional bungalows on private sections to farms and lifestyle blocks in the countryside. With the affordability of housing in the region, along with the time you’ll save in commuting, Taranaki gives you lifestyle choices ‘like no other’. With a spacious, safe living environment, Taranaki is a great place to call home. If you would like to find somewhere to live, contact a local real estate agent or check out their websites for more details.
If you choose to make New Plymouth your home, no matter what suburb you live in, you will be just minutes away from the city centre. It’s likely to take you no more than 10 minutes to commute to work each day. Hawera, Stratford, Inglewood, Waitara, Oakura, Opunake, Urenui and many of the other towns throughout Taranaki provide an inviting alternative to city living. In these smaller communities, you will find homes on spacious sections and lifestyle blocks with sea and/or mountain views.
There is a variety of rental housing available in New Plymouth and in all towns around the region. If you are moving from overseas, it is recommended that you rent first before buying so that you can learn more about the market and where you would like to settle before purchasing a home. Talk to a local real estate agent for more information on what’s available.
Buying a house is generally a straightforward and simple process. The average time it takes for settlement to go through once an offer has been accepted is 30 days, and there is no ability for other people to ‘gazump’ you. A great way to get a feel for the market is to attend ‘open homes’ at the weekends. For information on the buying process, residency rules and arranging a mortgage talk to your local bank manager or lawyer.
Real estate information
With a spacious, safe living environment, and a wide choice of housing, Taranaki is a great place to call home.
Schools and education
There is a wide variety of education providers in the region, from early childcare through to tertiary institutions. Our schools provide a safe, friendly and positive environment where students are actively encouraged to reach their full potential by highly qualified, dedicated staff.
Quality education begins at one of Taranaki’s high-level preschool facilities which include kindergartens, play centres, Montessori pre-school, child care centres, Kohanga Reo, home-based family day care and nanny placement services. Most primary and intermediate schools offer low teacher to pupil ratios and secondary students have the choice of enrolling in a school that suits their needs. Whether it is co-educational or single sex, boarding or day, religious or secular, our schools are renowned for their academic, sporting and cultural achievements.
Sector specific training is provided by Industry Training Organisations (ITO’s), and tertiary education by the Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki (WITT) and Pacific International Hotel Management School (PIHMS). Apprenticeships are managed and promoted by a number of different organisations and some larger companies provide internships or graduate programmes as part of their recruitment programmes.Taranaki is now part of the global Kiwi Advanced Research & Education Network (KAREN) which provides ultra-high speed 1GB broadband to researchers and education providers.
Taranaki offers a range of excellent facilities where students are taught by highly qualified, dedicated staff.
The Taranaki District Health Board is the key health provider in the region. Taranaki Base Hospital provides first-class emergency, intensive and medical care to the community through an extensive range of specialist surgeons and doctors covering mental health to pain management, paediatrics to physiotherapy and everything in between. Top class diagnostic equipment is available at the Hospital and for those looking to start or extend their family, a modern birthing facility, maternity ward and neonatal unit are also on offer. An ambulance service is operated by the Health Board and is aligned with other rescue services.
Taranaki is well served by general practitioners, surgical specialists and nurses. There are many supporting primary health organisations offering a variety of services and personnel, including health promotion workers, dieticians and midwives. South Taranaki is well serviced by a modern hospital in Hawera, medical centres in Opunake, Hawera and Patea, and GP services in Manaia and Eltham.
Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)
ACC is a government-funded scheme that covers the cost of treatment and recovery for accidents and emergencies, both in and out of the workplace. Additional health insurance is recommended for those treatments that fall outside of ACC in order to take advantage of shorter waiting lists.
There are pharmacies in all towns, and a large number of excellent dentists, physiotherapists and psychologists available, so there is no need to worry about your health when you are in Taranaki – you will be well taken care of. The Taranaki Hospice, Te Rangimarie, offers on-site palliative care in New Plymouth and at-home throughout the region.
Taranaki Base Hospital has recently undergone a multi million dollar upgrade and provides first-class emergency, intensive and medical care for the whole region.
Dining and drinking
Take a leisurely wander down any of Taranaki’s main streets, and you’ll be amazed at the selection of local and international flavours on offer. From steaming coffee and French pastries to delicate whitebait fritters, and hot Indian curries to aromatic Asian fare, there’s something for everyone in Taranaki. Treat your palate to fresh ocean catch at a downtown bistro, relish a latte in a cosy café, or gaze out to sea in an upmarket gourmet restaurant.
There is a well-established coffee culture in the region, with talented baristas making coffee in cafés right around the mountain. Three local roasters provide delicious beans to many of these cafés. This has led to a highly developed coffee community, providing an excellent cup of coffee.
For those who appreciate something a little stronger, there are traditional country pubs that offer a glimpse into rural New Zealand, modern wine bars and nightclubs that add flavour to a night out, a few boutique wineries and an organic brewery. To find out what to eat and where, visit www.visit.taranaki.info
Festivals and events
Taranaki has become known as an events capital and punches well above its weight in terms of attracting international superstars. The region is lucky to have the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, a natural amphitheatre housed in Pukekura Park, a 50-hectare park in the centre of New Plymouth city. This world-class venue has attracted many famous international artists including REM, UB40, Sir Elton John, Jack Johnson, Simply Red, Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Ritchie, Sting, Paul Simon, and John Farnham, as well as hosting the annual WOMAD and Tropfest festivals. The TSB Stadium is another event venue, where the likes of Slash, INXS, The Beach Boys and Westlife have all performed in recent years.
The highlight of the year for many Taranaki people is when WOMAD comes to town. The three-day World of Music, Arts and Dance turns the TSB Bowl of Brooklands and surrounding Brooklands Park into a hive of cultural harmony. Incredibly talented musicians from all over the world and New Zealand, six stages, a global village of art and crafts, a kids’ zone, multi-ethnic food stalls, relaxing bars serving New Zealand’s best beer and wine and an on-site marae all transform this beautiful park into an international extravaganza in March each year, it’s a must do!
Every spring, dozens of Taranaki’s best gardeners open their hearts and homes to visitors and locals during the annual Taranaki garden festivals.
For ten days at the start of November, the region buzzes with people admiring topiary hedges, clever plantings, blooming roses and rhododendrons which are part of the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular. Alongside this, the Taranaki Fringe Garden Festival offers another selection of earthy creations for people to view. www.taranakigardens.co.nz
TSB Festival of Lights
Every summer, Taranaki people talk about “going to see the lights”. They are referring to the TSB Bank Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park, where trees lining the paths and lakes are strung with lights, turning the park into an enchanting fairyland. A sleeping giant, nativity scenes, a coloured fountain and waterfall, and a walk under ultra-violet lights all help to make this annual event magical. The festival also offers night after night of concerts and free entertainment on lawns amidst the illuminated bush and is one of Taranaki’s star attractions.
Farmers’ Market Taranaki is a weekly event where local growers and producers meet local customers and visitors to the province. The market aims to provide fresh healthy local produce at fair prices, create an environment where smaller local businesses can sell directly to customers, be a place where friends can meet, and allow consumers to discuss their queries directly with producers. There is also a popular monthly Seaside Market offering a range of arts, craft, locally grown produce and homewares.
Taranaki's unique AmeriCARna festival celebrates all things to do with US car culture. For a week in February hundreds of hot rod and classic car enthusiasts parade around the region and provide locals with the opportunity to get up close and personal to their prized vehicles.
Taranaki International Festival of the Arts
The Taranaki International Festival of the Arts happens every two years. This is a time for people to indulge in music, comedy, drama, dance, writing and circus performances. Over the years, this festival has provided an astounding range of acts, from Slava’s Snowshow to Cirque Éloize, Eddi Reader to New Zealand’s own Topp Twins. It has twice brought in the Spiegeltent Salon Perdu for cabaret and comedy acts and one year built a temporary ice-rink in the centre of New Plymouth. As well as city-based acts, there are also heartland tours to Taranaki’s smaller communities and marae.
Other festivals and events in Taranaki
A centre for the arts
Taranaki has a vibrant arts scene. The perfect figure of Mount Taranaki has been a recurring theme in New Zealand’s art history and its creative influence extends right around the region, through studios, galleries and public art in the form of outdoor exhibition spaces and sculpture, the latter best seen at the biennial Te Kupenga Stone Sculpture Symposium on New Plymouth’s foreshore.
But the jewel in Taranaki’s creative crown is undoubtedly the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, recognised as one of the leading contemporary art galleries in Australasia.
Along with an extensive collection of works by the likes of Don Driver, Ralph Hotere and Michael Smither, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery showcases cutting-edge visual art from around the Pacific Rim and beyond. It is also home to the collected works and archives of Len Lye, an internationally renowned kinetic sculptor, painter and film pioneer. Attached to the Govett-Brewster is the newly built and modern Len Lye Centre which features works in a variety of media from acclaimed artist Len Lye www.govettbrewster.com/Len-Lye/Centre.
In Stratford, the Percy Thomson Gallery has ongoing exhibitions of work from New Zealand artists and community art groups, as does Inglewood’s Fritz Reuter Gallery, and Hawera’s Lysaght Watt Gallery.
The vibrancy of Taranaki's arts and cultural scene belies the size of the region.
A multitude of sports
Sport is a large focus in Taranaki. Not only does the region host top-class sporting events, it also encourages people to get active through providing a variety of high-quality sports facilities, clubs and grounds. New Plymouth’s picturesque cricket ground at Pukekura Park received international honours in 2007, when prestigious publisher Wisden named it as one of the six greatest cricket grounds in the world.
Another one of the region’s premier venues is Yarrow Stadium, judged the third best place in the world to watch a rugby match by New Zealand Rugby World Magazine. The Stadium regularly hosts major rugby and sporting events, including three Rugby World Cup 2011 matches and six FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015 matches and All Blacks test matches every few years.
New Plymouth is also the location for the TSB Stadium, a multipurpose centre that caters for a diverse range of events including sports, shows and concerts, exhibitions and trade shows, dinners, conventions and community events. The Stadium is located adjacent to the Pukekura Raceway, where races are held on a regular basis throughout the year.
Opened in 2002, The TET Multi Sports Centre in Stratford, central Taranaki, is a modern facility offering both indoor and outdoor sports, such as volleyball, netball and hockey, including a fully licensed bar and restaurant and large conference facilities.
The TET Stadium in Inglewood also provides modern rugby, squash and conference facilities and features a world class Mondo all-weather running track.
The TSB Hub is a sports, recreation and events facility for the entire South Taranaki district, based around Hick’s Park in Hawera. It provides a comfortable, spacious venue for indoor leisure activities and operates as a modern conference, events and function centre as well as a meeting space for a variety of community clubs and organisations. It also links to the neighbouring 800-student Hawera High School and the nearby Powerco Aquatic Centre. In 2010 and 2011, the TSB Hub hosted the Davis Cup, an international tennis tournament and the world’s largest annual team competition in sport.
Taranaki was proud to host five international teams across three matches for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, and six FIFA U20’s games in 2015.
Something for everyone
Taranaki’s fantastic landscape and highly developed infrastructure provide a myriad of opportunities for everyone to participate in a wide range of activities.
There is an array of all-weather surfaces for athletics, tennis and hockey. Netball is a huge sport and is played throughout Taranaki, as is football, which in New Zealand is commonly called soccer. In winter, a snow-clad Mount Taranaki provides a steep playground for skiers and snowboarders.
Apart from joining a club you can also take part in the many annual sporting events that fill up Taranaki’s calendar.
There are round the mountain cycle races and walks, fun runs, a triathlon series, a mountain-to-surf marathon, half-marathon, half ironman, tennis tournaments and surf life-saving competitions to name but a few.
Cycling, both road and off-road, has a growing community in the region. For mountain bike enthusiasts, Lake Mangamahoe mountain bike trails have numerous accessible trails for riders of all levels. For road cyclists, there is a network of urban cycle ways and a multimillion dollar velodrome and closed road circuit just north of New Plymouth city.
Swimmers can train all-year-round in aquatic centres throughout Taranaki. There are indoor heated pools in New Plymouth, Bell Block, Stratford and Hawera as well as a number of outdoor pools throughout the region. The New Plymouth Aquatic Centre features both heated indoor and outdoor pools, a wave machine, water slides and a fitness centre, along with a spa pool and sauna.
Between a snow-capped mountain and a sparkling surf coast, there’s a sport or activity waiting for everyone in Taranaki.
Is golf your game?
If so, you will be spoilt for choice because Taranaki boasts more courses per person than anywhere else in New Zealand. Discover our courses at www.taranakigolf.co.nz.
And then of course there is the sea.
The region’s numerous beaches provide hours of family fun and a great swimming option during the summer months with three of New Plymouth’s beaches, Oakura, East End and Fitzroy becoming the first ‘blue flag’ accredited beaches in Oceania, an international standard for water quality, environmental sustainability and education. The beaches are kept safe by both volunteer and professional lifeguards, many of whom are stars on the national lifesaving competition scene.
Taranaki is also known as a surfers’ paradise, good enough to lure the world’s best board riders as well as produce them.
Every April the best women surfers on Earth grace our shores during the New Zealand Surf Festival. Among the surfers is Taranaki’s own Paige Hareb, the first Kiwi woman to qualify for the tour. Other popular activities along the coast include windsurfing, kite surfing, waterskiing, canoeing, fishing and kayaking.
Parks and gardens
Taranaki has been labelled the ‘Garden of New Zealand’ since pioneering times – and for good reason. Rich volcanic soils, a mild climate, high sunshine hours and plenty of rain combine to create conditions that cultivate a huge range of plants within this temperate environment.
The region now boasts one 6-star, six 5-star, nine 4-star and two 3-star gardens. Some of the most famous are the public Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust, Pukekura Park, Brooklands, Tupare and Hollard gardens.
Pukeiti is a world-class 360-hectare rainforest garden featuring 10,000 rhododendrons. Among this collection are 500 of the 800 known rhododendron varieties, as well as 15,000 hybrids.
Pukekura Park in the leafy heart of New Plymouth, covers about 50 hectares and contains a diverse range of landscapes, including exotic trees, formal gardens, lakes and walking trails through native bush. The park includes the Fernery and Display Houses, a lakeside teahouse, historic band stand, world-famous cricket ground, an illuminated waterfall and fountain, plus a children’s playground. The park merges into the adjacent garden estate area of Brooklands, home to the acclaimed TSB Bank Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Zoo.
Between Pukeiti and Pukekura Park, Taranaki offers a huge range of parks and gardens from the formal to the familiar. Hollard Gardens, in the heart of Taranaki’s dairying country, and Tupare, sculpted from a hill overlooking the Waiwhakaiho river, are national treasures. Private garden Te Kainga Marire is Taranaki’s only 6-star garden, as judged by the NZ Gardens Trust.
Taranaki has been labelled the ‘Garden of New Zealand’ since pioneering times – for good reason. Rich volcanic soils, a mild climate, high sunshine hours and plenty of rain, combine to create perfect conditions for cultivating a huge range of plants.
One of the province’s best kept secrets is its network of walking trails. Covering every corner of the region, and all levels of fitness, these tracks enable visitors and locals to venture deep into the heart of the unique natural environment.
Taranaki boasts the iconic Mount Taranaki, a spectacular national park, three marine reserves, black sand beaches pounding with great surf and wonderful lakes. Walking tracks and pathways provide visitors with a link between these many attractions, and a unique perspective of the dramatic Taranaki landscape. Trails offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life and a chance to discover some of the region’s many areas of historical interest and natural beauty.
A regional jewel is the 13km-long New Plymouth Coastal Walkway that snakes along the city’s foreshore. This picturesque promenade has won a whole raft of awards, including the UN-backed LivCom 2008 Environmentally Sustainable Projects Award.
Along the Walkway also resides the eye-catching and iconic Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, a shared pedestrian and cycling bridge over the city’s Waiwhakaiho River that has won an impressive number of international design awards including ‘Best Bridge in the World 2011’.
The best way to discover the true Taranaki is on foot.
Mountain to surf
The highlight of the region’s unique environment is undoubtedly the iconic Mount Taranaki. From the vivid green of the lower slopes to the stunning views from the 2518m summit, Mount Taranaki offers a range of experiences unique to the region, and is accessible from anywhere in the province.
The Manganui Ski field provides club skiing and snow-boarding in the winter months, and tour guides offer expert guidance for those keen to reach the summit of this spectacular peak in summer.
Tramping (or hiking) is one of the most popular activities on Mount Taranaki. With over 200km of walking tracks throughout Egmont National Park, you can choose from 15-minute jaunts to waterfalls and short meanders through a wide variety of vegetation and native bird life to the epic three-day Pouakai circuit track.
Weather conditions can change rapidly so always be prepared and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. For more information on the mountain, visit one of the two information centres at Dawson Falls or North Egmont.
Taranaki’s landscape was created to be experienced and enjoyed. Where else in the world can you go skiing and surfing on the same day, with a latte in between? From the peak of picture perfect Mount Taranaki to the wild west coast, this province is an adventure playground that is hard to ignore, and even harder to forget.
The highlight of the region’s unique environment is undoubtedly iconic Mount Taranaki.
Surf Highway 45
Taranaki is the home of Kiwi surf. A drive around the iconic Surf Highway 45 – the coast road from New Plymouth to Hawera – will lead you to dozens of world-class surf breaks. Almost every road that heads towards the coastline leads to a pristine un-crowded wave. Breaks like Stent Road, Kumara Patch, Fitzroy Beach, Back Beach and Arawhata Road have become legendary in the New Zealand surfing scene over the decades and continue to attract board riders from around the globe. No matter what the tide, swell or wind direction, it’s almost always pumping somewhere along Surf Highway 45.
But Surf Highway 45 offers much more than epic surf and empty beaches. There are a choice of artist studios, historic sites, spectacular scenery and cosy cafés serving great coffee and delicious food, making this highway a great adventure for anybody seeking to explore the best of Taranaki.
Forgotten World Highway
Seeing the picture perfect volcanic cone of Mount Taranaki in the rear view mirror means one of two things – you’re heading down one of Taranaki’s famous coastal roads in search of a great wave or a secluded beach, or you’re on New Zealand’s oldest touring route, the Forgotten World Highway, which offers an unparalleled journey through our pioneering past and rich landscape.
The 155km adventure begins in Stratford and ends in Taumarunui on the Central Plateau, with Mount Ruapehu looming in front of you. It follows ancient Maori trade routes and pioneering farm tracks, through ambitious historic settlements, untamed native bush and stunning natural scenery. Along the Forgotten World Highway, you’ll encounter more than 30 historic or natural points of interest, a landscape where man and nature have fought each other for centuries, and you’ll still receive a wave from the locals as you pass.
Whether you approach the Forgotten World Highway as a three-hour scenic link between the West Coast and the Central Plateau, or explore its many stories over several days, you’ll be treated to an adventure ‘like no other’.
The Forgotten world Highway offers an unparalleled journey through Taranaki’s pioneering past.
It's easy to live in Taranaki