The main centre of the Taranaki region is the city of New Plymouth which has been voted the "Top City" in New Zealand. The New Plymouth District has over 60% of the entire population of Taranaki. New Plymouth is located in North Taranaki along with Inglewood and Waitara. South Taranaki towns include Hawera, Stratford and Eltham.
Since 2005, Taranaki has used the promotional brand "Like no other".
Geography and people 
Taranaki is situated on the west coast of the North Island, surrounding the volcanic peak. The large bays north-west and south-west of Cape Egmont are prosaically named the North Taranaki Bight and the South Taranaki Bight.
Mount Taranaki, or Mount Egmont—Te Maunga O Taranaki in Māori—is the dominant feature of the region, second-tallest mountain in the North Island. Māori legend says that Taranaki previously lived with the Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu mountains of the central North Island but fled to its current location after a battle with Tongariro.
Taranaki, a near-perfect cone, last erupted in the mid-18th century. The mountain and its immediate surrounds form Egmont National Park.
Although Māori had called the mountain Taranaki for many centuries, Captain James Cook renamed it Egmont after the Earl of Egmont the recently retired First Lord of the Admiralty who had encouraged his expedition. The mountain has two alternative official names, "Mount Taranaki" and "Mount Egmont".
The region has an area of 7258 km² and a population of 110,100 (June 2012 estimate). Just under half live in the city of New Plymouth. Other centres include Waitara, Inglewood, Stratford, Opunake, Okato, Kaponga, Eltham, Hawera, Patea and Waverley—the southern-most town.
The region is exceptionally fertile, thanks to generous rainfall and the rich volcanic soil. Dairy farming predominates, with the milk factory just outside Hawera being the second largest in the Southern Hemisphere. There are also oil and gas deposits in the region, both on- and off-shore. The Maui gas field off the south-west coast has provided most of New Zealand's gas supply as well as, at one time supporting two methanol plants (one formerly a synthetic-petrol plant called the Gas-To-Gasolene plant) at Motunui. More fuel and fertilizer is produced from a well-complex at Kapuni and a number of smaller land-based oilfields. With the Maui field nearing depletion, new offshore resources have been developed: The Tui field, 50 km south of Hawera, with reserves of 50,000,000 barrels (7,900,000 m3) of oil and the Pohokura gas field, 4.5 km north of Waitara.
The way the land mass projects into the Tasman Sea with northerly, westerly and southerly exposures results in many excellent surfing and windsurfing locations, some of them considered world-class.
The sub-national GDP of the Taranaki region was estimated at US$4.4 billion in 2003, 3% of New Zealand's national GDP.
The area became home to a number of Māori tribes from the 13th century. From about 1823 the Māori began having contact with European whalers as well as traders who arrived by schooner to buy flax. In March 1828 Richard "Dicky" Barrett (1807–47) set up a trading post at Ngamotu (present-day New Plymouth). Barrett and his companions, who were armed with muskets and cannon, were welcomed by the Āti Awa tribe because of their worth assisting in their continuing wars with Waikato Māori. Following a bloody encounter at Ngamotu in 1832, most of the 2000 Āti Awa  living near Ngamotu, as well as Barrett, migrated south to the Kapiti region and Marlborough.
In late 1839 Barrett returned to Taranaki to act as a purchasing agent for the New Zealand Company, which had already begun on-selling the land to prospective settlers in England with the expectation of securing its title. Barrett claimed to have negotiated the purchase of an area extending from Mokau to Cape Egmont, and inland to the upper reaches of the Whanganui River including Mt Taranaki. A later deed of sale included New Plymouth and all the coastal lands of North Taranaki, including Waitara.
European settlement at New Plymouth began with the arrival of the William Bryan in March 1841. European expansion beyond New Plymouth, however, was prevented by Māori opposition to selling their land, a sentiment that deepened as links strengthened with the King Movement. Tension over land ownership continued to mount, leading to the outbreak of war at Waitara in March 1860. Although the pressure for the sale of the Waitara block resulted from the colonists' hunger for land in Taranaki, the greater issue fuelling the conflict was the Government's desire to impose British administration, law and civilisation on the Māori.
The war was fought by more than 3500 imperial troops brought in from Australia, as well as volunteer soldiers and militia, against Māori forces that fluctuated between a few hundred and about 1500. Total losses among the imperial, volunteer and militia troops are estimated to have been 238, while Māori casualties totalled about 200.
An uneasy truce was negotiated a year later, only to be broken in April 1863 as tensions over land occupation boiled over again. A total of 5000 troops fought in the Second Taranaki War against about 1500 men, women and children. The style of warfare differed markedly from that of the 1860-61 conflict as the army systematically took possession of Māori land by driving off the inhabitants, adopting a "scorched earth" strategy of laying waste to the villages and cultivations of Māori, whether warlike or otherwise. As the troops advanced, the Government built an expanding line of redoubts, behind which settlers built homes and developed farms. The effect was a creeping confiscation of almost a million acres (4,000 km²) of land.
The present main highway on the inland side of Mount Taranaki follows the path taken by the colonial forces under Major General Trevor Chute as they marched, with great difficulty, from Patea to New Plymouth in 1866.
Armed Māori resistance continued in South Taranaki until early 1869, led by the warrior Titokowaru, who reclaimed land almost as far south as Wanganui. A decade later spiritual leader Te Whiti o Rongomai, based at Parihaka, launched a campaign of passive resistance against government land confiscation, which culminated in a raid by colonial troops on November 5, 1881.
The confiscations, subsequently acknowledged by the New Zealand Government as unjust and illegal, began in 1865 and soon included the entire Taranaki district. Towns including Normanby, Hawera and Carlyle (Patea) were established on land confiscated as military settlements. The release of a Waitangi Tribunal report on the situation in 1996 led to some debate on the matter. In a speech to a group of psychologists, Associate Minister of Māori Affairs Tariana Turia compared the suppression of Taranaki Māori to the Holocaust, provoking a vigorous reaction around New Zealand, with Prime Minister Helen Clark among those voicing criticism.
Provincial Government 
From 1853 the Taranaki region was governed as the Taranaki Province, (initially known as the New Plymouth Province) until the abolition of New Zealand provinces in 1876. The leading office was that of the superintendent.
The following is a list of superintendents of the Province of Taranaki during this time:
|Henry Robert Richmond||1865–1869|
|Frederic Alonzo Carrington||1869–1876|
Taranaki Regional Council 
The Taranaki Regional Council was formed as part of major nationwide local government reforms in November 1989, for the purpose of Integrated catchment management. The regional council was the successor to the Taranaki Catchment Board, the Taranaki United Council, the Taranaki Harbours Board, and 16 small special-purpose local bodies that were abolished under the Local Government Amendment Act (No 3) 1988. The Council's headquarters were established in the central location of Stratford to "provide a good compromise in respect of overcoming traditional south vs north Taranaki community of interest conflicts" (Taranaki Regional Council, 2001 p. 6).
- Policy and planning
- Civil defence emergency management
- Resource consents
- Land management
- River control and flood protection
- Land transport and harbour management
- Resource investigations, monitoring and enhancement
- Pest management
- Recreation, culture and heritage
- Regional representation, information and investments
Placenames in Taranaki 
The Māori language spoken in Taranaki replaces the sound of h (both on its own and in wh) with a break. (The sound used in adjacent Wanganui is similar but not identical.) Thus the famous elder Hina Okeroa was universally known as Ina. The name of the river flowing through New Plymouth, Waiwakaiho, would be written wai whakaiho (meaning "water flowing downward") in Central North Island Māori.
Notable people 
- Sir Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hīroa) of Ngāti Mutunga – Māori scholar, born in Urenui
- Michael Campbell – golfer
- William Douglas Cook (New Plymouth, 1884 – Gisborne, 1967) – founder of Eastwoodhill Arboretum, Ngatapa, Gisborne and of Pukeiti, world famous rhododendron garden, New Plymouth.
- Grant Fox – Former All Black fly-half, born in New Plymouth
- Paige Hareb – professional surfer
- Len Lye – artist, filmmaker Born in Christchurch, collection only housed in New Plymouth.
- Melanie Lynskey – actress
- Luke McAlister – New Zealand All Blacks
- Graham Mourie – former All Black captain
- William Malone – First World War officer
- Conrad Smith – Current All Black centre, born in Hawera and went to Francis Douglas Memorial College
- Michael Smither – artist
- Peter Snell – Gold medal winning athlete, born in Opunake
- Ronald Syme – scholar of ancient history
- Isaac Luke – South Sydney Rabbitohs and New Zealand rugby league international
Further reading 
- J. S. Tullett (1981). The Industrious Heart: A History of New Plymouth. New Plymouth District Council
- Belich, James (1988). The New Zealand Wars. Penguin.
- Dick Scott (1998). Ask That Mountain ISBN 0-7900-0190-X. Reed.
Other information 
Taranaki's landscape and the mountain's supposed resemblance to Mount Fuji led it to be selected as the location for The Last Samurai, a motion picture set in 19th-century Japan. The movie starred Tom Cruise.
See also 
- First Taranaki War
- Second Taranaki War
- Titokowaru's War
- New Zealand land confiscations
- Waitara, New Zealand
- Taranaki Rugby Union
- Taranaki Savings Bank
- "Subnational population estimates at 30 June 2012". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012. Also "Infoshare; Group: Population Estimates - DPE; Table: Estimated Resident Population for Urban Areas, at 30 June (1996+) (Annual-Jun)". Statistics New Zealand. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Quickstats about Taranaki Region
- Quickstats about New Plymouth District
- Like No Other. Newplymouthnz.com (2006-06-29). Retrieved on 2011-06-25.
- "What is the difference between alternative naming and dual naming?". Retrieved 19 March 2010.
- Tui oil field. Nzog.net. Retrieved on 2011-06-25.
- "Pohokura gas field". Todd Energy. Archived from the original on 2010-05-26.
- "Regional Gross Domestic Product". Statistics New Zealand. 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
- Puke Ariki Museum essay
- Angela Caughey (1998). The Interpreter: The Biography of Richard "Dicky" Barrett. David Bateman Ltd. ISBN 1-86953-346-1.
- Belich, James (1986). The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict (1st ed.). Auckland: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-011162-X.
- Michael King (2003). The Penguin History of New Zealand. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-301867-1.
- The Taranaki Report: Kaupapa Tuatahi by the Waitangi Tribunal, 1996
- Ngati Awa Raupatu Report, chapter 10, Waitangi Tribunal, 1999.
- B. Wells, The History of Taranaki, 1878, Chapter 25.
- "A Taranaki Holocaust?" (2000) Downloadable Radio New Zealand broadcast
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Taranaki Region|
- Taranaki – Like No Other: The Official Tourism website
- Puke Ariki: Taranaki's combined museum, library and visitor information centre
- Taranaki Wiki: A Wiki Project encouraging contributions from anyone for all things Taranaki
- Taranaki Tourism website with in-depth information about the region and an image library
- Taranaki Regional Council website