Pekenga – Te Tai Poutini
Stretching 600 kilometres along the western edge of the South Island, the West Coast is a rugged, primeval region of contrasting features - high snow-capped mountains, towering rainforests, lowland river valleys, dramatic coastlines, bizarre limestone landscapes, grinding glaciers, surging rivers and brooding lakes. Human history dates back at least 800 years, when Maori tribes are thought to have arrived in search of pounamu (greenstone/jade). In the 1860s, gold rush fever brought the first Europeans, and many towns stil exude that friendly pioneering spirit. Places of historic interest are often associated with the centuries-ling exploitation of the region's natural resources.