New Plymouth is the port and main city in the Taranaki region on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is named after Plymouth, Devon, England, from where the first English settlers came.
The city is a service centre for the region’s principal economic activities including intensive pastoral activities (mainly dairy farming) as well as oil, natural gas and petrochemical exploration and production. It is also the region’s financial centre as the home of the TSB Bank (formerly the Taranaki Savings Bank), the only non-government New Zealand-owned bank.
New Plymouth’s population is approximately 49,000. Notable features are the botanic gardens (eg Pukekura Park), the 7km coastal walkway alongside the Tasman Sea, the Len Lye-designed 45 metre tall artwork known as the Wind Wand, and views of Mount Taranaki (also known as Mount Egmont).
In 1828 Richard „Dicky“ Barrett (1807-47) set up a trading post at Ngamotu after arriving on the trading vessel Adventure. Barrett traded with the local Māori and helped negotiate the purchase of land from them on behalf of the New Zealand Company. Settlers were selected by the Plymouth Company, which was set up to attract emigrants from the West Country of England, and which took over land initially purchased by the New Zealand Company. The first of the town’s settlers arrived on the William Bryan, which anchored off the coast on March 31, 1841. A series of disputes over ownership and settlement of land developed between Māori and settlers soon after and New Plymouth became a fortified garrison town in 1860-1861 as more than 3500 Imperial soldiers, as well as local volunteers and militia, fought Māori in the First Taranaki War.