Hokitika, New Zealand

Hokitika is a township on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, km to mi|40 south of Greymouth, and close to the mouth of the Hokitika River. According to the 2006 census, the usually resident population of the Hokitika urban area was 3,078. [cite web|url=http://www.stats.govt.nz/census/2006-census-data/final-counts/west-coast-region.htm|title=2006 Census Data, Final counts, West Coast Region|publisher=Statistics New Zealand]

History

Founded on gold mining in 1864, it was a centre of the West Coast goldrush. By late 1866 it was one of the country's most populous centres. It became the capital of the short-lived Westland Province from 1873 until the abolition of provinces in 1876.

The population has declined greatly since that time but the population of the Westland District is now on the rise thanks to "lifestyle inhabitants". Almost 30% of the district's ratepayers live outside of Westland.

Geography

Climate

Infobox Weather
metric_first=yes
single_line=yes
location =Hokitika
Jan_Hi_°C =19.4
Feb_Hi_°C =20
Mar_Hi_°C =18.7
Apr_Hi_°C =16.7
May_Hi_°C =14.2
Jun_Hi_°C =12.3
Jul_Hi_°C =12
Aug_Hi_°C =12.5
Sep_Hi_°C =13.9
Oct_Hi_°C =15.1
Nov_Hi_°C =16.6
Dec_Hi_°C =18.1
Year_Hi_°C =15.8
Jan_Lo_°C =11.7
Feb_Lo_°C =12
Mar_Lo_°C =10.6
Apr_Lo_°C =8.4
May_Lo_°C =5.9
Jun_Lo_°C =3.7
Jul_Lo_°C =2.9
Aug_Lo_°C =3.9
Sep_Lo_°C =5.8
Oct_Lo_°C =7.4
Nov_Lo_°C =8.8
Dec_Lo_°C =10.6
Year_Lo_°C =7.6
Jan_Precip_mm =250
Feb_Precip_mm =172
Mar_Precip_mm =217
Apr_Precip_mm =249
May_Precip_mm =245
Jun_Precip_mm =233
Jul_Precip_mm =232
Aug_Precip_mm =224
Sep_Precip_mm =250
Oct_Precip_mm =286
Nov_Precip_mm =240
Dec_Precip_mm =278
Year_Precip_mm =2875
source =NIWA Climate Data cite web
url=http://www.niwascience.co.nz/edu/resources/climate/|title=Climate Data|accessmonthday=November 2|accessyear=2007
publisher=NIWA|language=
]
accessdate =1971 – 2000

Economy

The major industries of greenstone ("pounamu"), gold, coal, and forestry have all dwindled over the last century, but a growing ecotourism industry has grown up and the town is starting to show signs of recovery. It has become a major tourist stop on the West Coast's main highway route, with carving of greenstone an important local industry. It is also gaining a reputation for its annual wild food festival which has been running since 1990. [cite web|url=http://www.wildfoods.co.nz/wildfoods/thestorynew/|title=The story so far...]

Another important industry is dairying, with Westland Milk Products being based in the town. A co-operative that has been producing dairy products for many years, it is increasing its production at about 10% annually, and in recent years has installed plants to produce new products such as different types of proteins, AMF and others. The vast majority of its production is exported.

Transport

State Highway 6 passes through the town.

Air New Zealand Link provides daily flights to Christchurch operated by Eagle Airways. The airport is adjacent to the town, immediately to the north-east.

A branch line railway known as the Hokitika Branch runs to the town from Greymouth; it opened in 1893 and an extension to Ross was open from 1909 to 1980. Passengers to Hokitika were initially served by "mixed" trains that carried both goods and passengers, and in 1936, these services were augmented by a Leyland diesel railbus service that ran from Hokitika to Greymouth, Christchurch, and briefly Reefton. In the early 1940s, the Vulcan railcars were introduced and they provided a twice-daily service between Ross and Christchurch via Hokitika. The "mixed" trains continued to operate until 1967, and all passenger services to Hokitika ceased when the Vulcan railcars stopped running past Greymouth in 1972. Since then, the line to Hokitika has been freight-only with traffic primarily coming from Westland Milk Products.

Education

A school was described as "recently opened" in Hokitika in 1875, and had nearly 350 students. [cite news|url=http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=WCT18751015.2.9|title=Hokitika School|publisher=West Coast Times|issue 3129|date=15 October 1875|page=2] The Hokitika District High School provided both primary and secondary education for the area for many years.

The current high school is Westland High School, which caters for years 7-15 and has a decile rating of 6 and a roll of 479. [cite web|url=http://www.tki.org.nz/e/schools/display_school_info.php?school_id=305|title=Te Kete Ipurangi - Westland High School, New Zealand|Westland High School|publisher=Ministry of Education] Hokitika School is a contributing primary (years 1-6) school with a decile rating of 4 and a roll of 170. [cite web|url=http://www.tki.org.nz/e/schools/display_school_info.php?school_id=3376|title=Te Kete Ipurangi - Hokitika School|publisher=Ministry of Education]

St Mary's School is a full primary (years 1-8) school with a decile rating of 5 and a roll of 108. [cite web|url=http://www.tki.org.nz/e/schools/display_school_info.php?school_id=3536|title=Te Kete Ipurangi - St Mary's School, Hokitika|St Mary's School|publisher=Ministry of Education] It is a state integrated Catholic school. [cite web|url=http://www.ero.govt.nz/ero eppub.nsf/Institution/0F39984A8EA65C39CC257467001BCC8F/$File/3536.htm?OpenElement|title=Education Review Report: St Mary's School Hokitika|publisher=Education Review Office|date=May 2008]

All these schools are coeducational.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.wildfoods.co.nz/ Hokitika Wild Food Festival]
* [http://www.westland.co.nz Westland Milk Products]
* [http://www.westland-high.school.nz/ Westland High School website]


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