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Featured Image: Mount Taranaki, New Plymouth
Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 1 March 2019
Postcard from Tupare House & Garden, New Plymouth, New Zealand
New Plymouth has two major public gardens, several good private ones and excellent public parks. Of the two public gardens we only went to Tūpare. We were here in mid-January 2019. Pukeiti larger and renowned for its rhododendrons is best visited in early November.
Tūpare is both a garden and an arts and crafts house on a very steep site. A volunteer guide opened the house for a tour at 11 am. I am not a garden aficionado in particular and was equally attracted by the house and the story of the property. It is somewhat symbolic of New Zealand.
New Plymouth is not well known to overseas visitors and perhaps not even to many New Zealanders. It needs introduction.
Demography, Geography and Economy
New Zealand consists of two main islands. The North Island is more populated and the bulk of the population lives in Auckland.
New Zealand’s population is only 4,885,000 in 2019. The population of the North Island is 3,749,500 and the South Island 1,135,500. Auckland’s population is 1,582,000 by contrast Wellington is 413,000, Hamilton 205,000, Christchurch 408,000, Dunedin 122,000 and New Plymouth 59,000 (accuracy approximate; variable sources)
The CIA Factbook says of the New Zealand economy :
Over the past 40 years, the government has transformed New Zealand from an agrarian economy, dependent on concessionary British market access, to a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally.
However, New Zealand is still dependent on agriculture and forestry as its main exports and on tourism. Hence its economy is dependent on overseas demand and is inevitably fragile. I’ve always said that New Zealand is ten years ahead of Australia in creativity and innovation, but then comes the next recession.
Taranaki and New Plymouth
New Plymouth is in the Taranaki Region, north of it is the Waikato. South are Wanganui and Manawatu. Regional identity in New Zealand is vey strong based on history.
Taranaki is centred on a large volcano Mount Taranaki (previously Egmont) and the mountain is the most visible landmark. Mount Taranaki is conical and looks like Mount Fuji in winter. Several films set in Japan have been made here. Taranaki is the large bulge on the West coast of the North Island, New Plymouth is on the seaward edge of that bulge. It is the only large town in Taranaki.
New Plymouth is a relatively prosperous community. Because of the volcanic nature of the soils, it is a rich agricultural region. And, because of the bulge it isn’t on the direct land route between Auckland and Wellington. The Port of New Plymouth is tricky of access, particularly in sailing times because it is on a lee shore.