Tasman Region

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Tasman Region
Country: New Zealand
Position of Tasman Region
Unitary Authority
Name:Tasman District Council
Mayor:Richard Kempthorne
Population: 48,400 June 2012 estimate [1]
Land Area:9,771 km²
Towns:Richmond, Motueka, Collingwood, Takaka, Brightwater, Murchison, Mapua

The Tasman Region is both a region and a district of New Zealand. It borders with the West Coast Region, Marlborough Region and the Nelson Region. It is both a region and a unitary authority, and the District Council sits at Richmond, with Community Boards serving outlying communities in Motueka and Golden Bay. Though the city of Nelson forms its own unitary region separate from the Tasman Region, the Tasman Region and Nelson are often grouped together by the public under a looser definition of the term "Tasman".


Tasman District is a large area at the top western side of the South Island of New Zealand. It covers 9,786 square kilometres and is bounded to the west by the Matiri Ranges, Tasman Mountains and the Tasman Sea. To the north Tasman and Golden Bays form its seaward edge, and the eastern boundary extends to the edge of Nelson city, and includes part of the Spencer Mountains and the Saint Arnaud and Richmond Ranges. The Victoria Ranges form Tasman's southern boundary and the district's highest point is Mount Franklin, at 2,340 metres.

The landscape is diverse, from large mountainous areas to valleys and plains, and is sliced by such major rivers as the Buller River, Motueka, Aorere, Takaka and Wairoa River. The limestone-rich area around Mount Owen and Mount Arthur is notable for its extensive cave networks, among them New Zealand's deepest caves at Ellis Basin and Nettlebed. There is lush bush and bird life, golden beaches, the unique 40 kilometre sands of Farewell Spit, and boundless fishing in the bays and rivers. These assets make the district irresistible to tourists and precious to those who live there.

Tasman is home to three national parks: Abel Tasman National Park (New Zealand's smallest at 225.41 km²), Nelson Lakes National Park (1,017.53 km²) and Kahurangi National Park (4,520 km²).


The sub-national GDP of the Tasman and Nelson regions was estimated at US$2.343 billion in 2003, 2% of New Zealand's national GDP.[2]


Tasman Bay, the largest indentation in the north coast of the South Island, was named after Abel Tasman, the first reported European discoverer of New Zealand. It passed the name on to the adjoining district formed in 1989 largely from the merger of Waimea and Golden Bay counties.

Government and settlementsEdit

Tasman District Council (unitary authority) headquarters are at Richmond, close to the adjoining Nelson City. Community Boards exist to serve outlying areas in Motueka and Golden Bay. Other towns are Motueka, Brightwater, Collingwood, Murchison, Riwaka, Saint Arnaud, Takaka, Tapawera, Wakefield, Mapua, and Kaiteriteri.


Swing bridge at Buller River A24

Swing bridge at Buller River

According to tradition, the Māori waka Uruao, brought ancestors of the Waitaha people to Tasman in the 12th Century. Archaeological evidence suggests the first Māori settlers explored the region thoroughly, settling mainly along the coast where there was ample food.

The succession of tribes into the area suggests considerable warfare interrupted their lives. Around 1828, Ngati Toa under Te Rauparaha and the allied northern tribes of Ngati Rarua and Ngati Tama, started their invasion of the South Island. They took over much of the area from Farewell Spit to the Wairau River.

The first immigrant ships from England arrived in 1842 and the European settlement of the region began under the leadership of Captain Arthur Wakefield.

In the 1850s, agriculture and pastoral farming started and villages were established on the Waimea Plains and Motueka. In 1856, the discovery of gold near Collingwood sparked New Zealand's first gold rush. Significant reserves of iron ore were located at Onekaka and an iron works operated here during the 1920s and 1930s.

Fruit growing started at the end of the 19th Century. By 1945, it was making a significant contribution to the local economy and that importance continues today.



A map showing population density in the Tasman and Nelson Regions at the 2006 census.

Tasman District's estimated resident population is 48,400 (June 2012 estimate)[1] representing 1.1% of New Zealand's population.

Most of Tasman's urban population lives in the Richmond Ward (10,851). It has the district's fastest growth rate, particularly in North Richmond where the population has grown by 23% since 1996.

The second largest area of growth is in the Waimea/Moutere Ward. Mapua has posted the highest growth - 27.4% between 1996 and 2001.

Although Tasman has recorded strong growth, the region has a low population density. As at March 2001, there were an estimated 4.3 people per square kilometre. This is mainly due to the lack of large urban areas and 58% of the area constituting lands covered by national parks.

People of European ancestry make up 82.7% of the Tasman population, significantly higher than the 67.6% for New Zealand overall.[3]

The number of Māori, European, Pacific Island and Asians have increased markedly since 1991, with Māori increasing by 60.5%. The main iwi represented in the wider Tasman region are Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama (Golden Bay and Tasman Bay), Te Atiawa, Ngati Koata, Ngati Kuia (eastern Tasman Bay) and the Poutini Ngai Tahu (southern areas).

Famous former residents include nuclear physicist Ernest Rutherford, former Prime Ministers Bill Rowling and Sir Keith Holyoake, and Sir Michael Myers, Chief Justice of New Zealand 1929-1946.


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Coordinates: 41°30′S 172°48′E / -41.5, 172.8

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Tasman Region. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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