Bay of Plenty is the broad curve of coastline between the base of Coromandel in the north and Cape Runaway to the south-east, and the name refers also to the region east of the Kaimai and Mamaku Ranges and including the central plateau area. Within the region are the lower Thames-Coromandel area and Ohinemuri, Matamata, Taupo, Waikohu, Wairoa and Waiapu.
The main towns and cities are Rotorua, Tauranga and its port of Mt Maunganui, Te Puke, Kawerau and Whakatane. It was named by Captain Cook as he sailed up the coast during October and November 1769, noticing abundant food at numerous Maori villages on the coast, which enabled him to replenish his own supplies — all in contrast to the kind of observations he had made earlier off Poverty Bay.
Today the region remains one of the richest and most plentiful in NZ, supporting tourism (centred on Rotorua), dairying and sheep raising, a forestry industry based on huge plantation pine forests, and a horticultural industry centring on kiwifruit orchards near Te Puke, the self-styled ‘Kiwifruit Capital of the World’.