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Ian Trafford


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Manawatu-Wanganui is a region in the lower half of the North Island of New Zealand, around the city of Palmerston North and the town of Wanganui. The district is dominated and defined by two significant rivers, the Whanganui (290 km), and the Manawatu (182 km). The Whanganui River is the longest navigable river in New Zealand. Legends emphasise the importance of the river and it remains sacred to Whanganui iwi. The region is a major agricultural power, leading in beef, sheep and deer production. Farm stays allow visitors to experience life on a New Zealand farm, not to mention some excellent country cooking. The Manawatu-Wanganui region takes up a large proportion of the lower half of the North Island. It is the second-largest region in the North Island and the sixth-largest in New Zealand; totalling 22,215 km2 (8.1% of New Zealand's land area).

The region stretches from north of Taumarunui to south of Levin on the west coast, and across to the east coast from Cape Turnagain to Owhanga. It borders the Waikato, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and  Wellington regions and includes river catchment areas that run from the volcanic plateau to the sea. The Pacific Ocean is the eastern boundary and the Ruahine Ranges form a natural boundary between the region and Hawke's Bay. Within the region’s boundaries is the tallest mountain in the North Island, Mount Ruapehu. An active volcano, it is 2,797m high. During the last 100 years Ruapehu has experienced six significant eruptions, and last erupted in 1995 and 1996.

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