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Gareth Eyres


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The West Coast is one of the administrative regions of New Zealand, located on the west coast of the South Island and is one of the more remote and most sparsely populated areas of the country. The West Coast is made up of three districts: Buller, Grey and Westland. Local towns are Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika. To New Zealanders, the West Coast of the South Island is known as “The Coast” and the people who are born there are known as “Coasters”. The term Westland is used by some New Zealanders to refer to the whole of the West Coast, including Grey District, Buller District, and Fiordland. Fiordland is geographically on the west coast of New Zealand but has no road connection and is in the Southland administrative region. The term West Coast generally refers to the narrow strip of land between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. It is the longest region in New Zealand. The region reaches from Kahurangi Point in the north to Awarua Point in the south, a distance of 600 km. To the west is the Tasman Sea which like the Southern Ocean is known to be very rough, with four-metre swells being common), and to the east are the Southern Alps. Much of the land is rugged, although there are coastal plains around which much of the population resides. The region has a very high rainfall due to the prevailing northwesterly winds and the location of the Southern Alps - these two elements giving rise to heavy rains. The flip side to this is the rain shadow effect which is responsible for the relatively arid climate of the Canterbury Plains on the other side of the Southern Alps.

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