Bay of Plenty

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The Bay of Plenty (Māori: Te Moana-a-Toi), often abbreviated to BoP, is a region in the North Island of New Zealand situated around the body of water of the same name. The bay was named by James Cook after he noticed the abundant food supplies at several Māori villages there, in stark contrast to the earlier observations he had made in Poverty Bay.


As of the 2006 Census, the Bay of Plenty has an estimated resident population of 257,379, making it the fifth-most populous region in New Zealand. The region also has the third-highest regional population density in New Zealand, with only the 11th-largest land area. The major population centres in the region are Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane. The Bay of Plenty is also one of the fastest growing regions in New Zealand: the regional population increased by 7.5% between 2001 to 2006, with significant growth along the coastal and western parts of the region, and is projected to increase to 277,900 by the year 2011.


Significant horticultural, forestry and tourism industries are well established in the region. However, the Bay of Plenty is also the third-most economically 'deprived' region in New Zealand, with the Opotiki, Whakatane and Kawerau Districts being among the most deprived in the country.


The Bay of Plenty region covers 12,200 km² of land and 9,500 km² of coastal marine area. The region extends along the eastern coast of the North Island, from the base of the Coromandel Peninsula in the west to Cape Runaway in the east. It extends 12 nautical miles from the coastlines of the North Island and several other islands in the bay, notably Mayor Island/Tuhua, Motiti Island, Whale Island and the active volcano of Whakaari/White Island. The region extends inland to the sparsely populated forest lands around Rotorua and Murupara.


The geographical bay defines 259 km of open coastline used for economic, recreational and cultural purposes. The coastline from Waihi Beach in the west to Opape is defined as sandy coast, while the coast from Opape to Cape Runaway Bay is rocky shore. Major harbours are found at Tauranga, Whakatane and Ohiwa. Major estuaries include Maketu, Little Waihi, Whakatane, Waiotahi and Waioeka/Otara. Eight major rivers empty into the bay from inland catchments, including Wairoa, Kaituna, Tarawera, Rangitaiki, Whakatane, Waioeka, Motu and Raukokore Rivers.


Much of the central part of the region lies within the Taupo Volcanic Zone, which extends from the centre of the North Island to Whakaari/White Island. Volcanic mountains and lakes, geothermal areas and geological fault lines all dot the landscape. The geothermal region around Rotorua is a major tourist site, while many hot springs in the region are used as swimming areas. The geothermal field near Kawerau is the site of a geothermal power plant currently under construction, which will reportedly provide up to one third of the region's electricity when fully operational. Whakaari/White Island, the site of a former sulfur mining operation, is an active volcanic island popular with tourists. The eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1896 and the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake were two disasters related to geological activity in the volcanic plateau.


Prominent mountains in the region include Mount Maunganui, Mount Tarawera and Mount Edgecumbe/Putauaki, which also have cultural significance to local Māori. The Kaimai and Mamaku mountain ranges lie at the western border of the region. Swamp land was formerly concentrated around a number of rivers in the region, but much of this was dredged in the early part of the 20th century to increase land for settlement and other uses. Large native and foreign (planted) forest areas are found in the inland parts of the region. The Kaingaroa Forest is the world's largest planted forest, comprising Radiata Pine mainly used for timber.


The Bay of Plenty has a subtropical, temperate, maritime climate, with warm, humid summers and mild winters. The region is one of the warmest in New Zealand, particularly along the coastline, and most areas experience at least 2,000 hours of sunshine per annum. Average daily maximum temperatures in the region range from 9–16 °C in winter to 22–26 °C in summer. Rainfall occurs more frequently in winter than in summer, but tropical storms in summer and autumn can produce heavy rain with high winds. Central parts of the region can receive up to 2000 mm of rainfall annually, while the eastern and western areas can receive up to 4000 mm.


Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/


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