About our Region

 The West Coast Region (Te Kaunihera Whakakotahi o Te Tai Poutini) extends over a distance of 600 km from Kahurangi Point in the north to Awarua Point in the south - greater than the distance between Auckland and Wellington. It is bounded in the east by the Southern Alps and in the west by the Tasman Sea and has a land area of 23,000 square kilometres, or 8.5% of New Zealand’s land area. By area this makes the West Coast the fifth largest region in New Zealand.

The size of the region and geography including the diffused nature of its population invariably pose challenges in terms of transport and other service deliveries. The region is comprised of three territorial authorities. Grey District; with the smallest land area but the largest population, Westland District with the largest land area and least population and Buller District falling in between.

The Coast has a diverse geography and can be described as a region of rainfall and rivers. The Alpine Fault runs the entire length of the region and with its unique geology and dramatic uplift, the resulting product is a very dynamic regional landscape. Some three quarters of the region is in indigenous forests. The region is home to a number of national parks including having parts of its region within the South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area; a recognition that places this part of New Zealand among the worlds premier and enviable natural landscapes.

The West Coast is well endowed with a number of natural resources such as pounamu, sphagnum moss, coal, gold, timber, pastoral, fisheries including whitebait along with the largest area of indigenous forest and a largely unmodified environment in the country. The economy is largely underpinned by resource based industries. However, other industries such as tourism have now grown into an important component of the regional economy.

Page reviewed: 23 Apr 2014 9:33am