At a glance 

This is an infographic showing statistics for the region of Te Tai o Poutini West Coast. It includes information about the population in 2018, projected population in 2048, Māori population and percentage of overall regional population in 2018, a list of

Arataki Te Tai o Poutini – West Coast regional direction [PDF, 2.6 MB]

Arataki Te Tai o Poutini – West Coast statistics table - infographic alternative [PDF, 131 KB]

The September 2023 v1.1 release of Arataki includes updates to reflect the severe weather events of 2023 and make minor corrections.

Te Tai o Poutini West Coast is home to some of most spectacular landscapes and natural environments in Aotearoa New Zealand, making it a magnet for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. It is the most sparsely populated of the country’s regions, with conservation land making up nearly 85% of the region’s land area.

Economically, the region performs below the national average in terms of productivity and employment rates. The economy is largely focused on dairy farming, mining, and tourism.

The region is relatively isolated. It relies heavily on SH6, SH73, and the Midland Rail Line to connect communities as well as move freight and people.

It is the country’s fifth largest region by land area but has the smallest population. The region’s population of 32,400 is expected to fall to 30,600 by 2043. This population decline is forecast across all districts, including the largest centre, Māwhera Greymouth.

Te Tai o Poutini has one of the highest per capita deaths and serious injuries on its roads, which needs to be addressed.

There are several locations on the network at high risk of damage or disruption from the effects of climate change or other natural hazards; this affects regional long-term resilience. Because the region is mostly made up of conservation land, councils don’t receive rates from these areas. Maintaining the existing network is already an issue.

Another challenge for Te Tai o Poutini will be reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the country moves to a low-carbon economy. 

Focusing our efforts 

For efficient and effective progress, transport challenges in Te Tai o Poutini West Coast must be tackled in a cohesive way. The directions below identify the most important issues to be resolved over the next 10 years to make progress towards transport outcomes.

  • Begin to reduce vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) in a way that’s fair, equitable, and improves quality of life.
  • Enable and support the region’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Maintain and improve resilience of the region’s land transport network.
  • Support efforts to improve access to essential services as well as social and economic opportunities.
  • Significantly reduce the harm caused by the region’s transport system, especially through improved road safety and reduced pollutants that are dangerous to people’s health.
  • Maintain and improve efficiency of interregional road and rail connections, especially east to Ōtautahi Christchurch on SH73 and Midland Rail Line.
  • Support the delivery of walking and cycling networks, predominantly through reshaping existing streets to make these options safe and attractive.
  • Explore the potential for new and emerging technologies, such as on-demand services, to improve access to social and economic opportunities.
  • Better understand the impact of future economic transformation on travel patterns and freight volumes.
  • Explore opportunities to move to a more multimodal freight system with greater use of rail.
  • Confirm how key resilience risks will be addressed over time, and work with communities to identify plans for when to defend, accommodate, or retreat.
  • Continue to implement road safety plans and programmes including those focused for iwi Māori.
  • Improve or maintain, as appropriate, physical access to marae, papakāinga, wāhi tapu, and wāhi taonga.

These will be updated over time to focus effort on the most critical matters.

Arataki Te Tai o Poutini – West Coast regional direction [PDF, 2.6 MB]