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New Zealand, Top of the South Island (Nelson), Skydiving.jpg
An aerial view of Motueka looking east
New Zealand location map.svg
Disc Plain red.svg
Motueka's location within New Zealand
Coordinates: 41°07′24″S173°00′53″E / 41.12333°S 173.01472°E / -41.12333; 173.01472 Coordinates: 41°07′24″S173°00′53″E / 41.12333°S 173.01472°E / -41.12333; 173.01472
CountryFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
Region Tasman District
 (2014 [1] )
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
Postal codes
7120, 7196, 7197, 7198
Area code03

The town of Motueka in the South Island of New Zealand lies close to the mouth of the Motueka River, on the western shore of Tasman Bay. It is, after Richmond, the second largest centre in the Tasman Region, with a population of 7125 (2006 census). [2] The Motueka Ward had an estimated population of 10,900 at 30 June 2009. [3]

South Island Southernmost of the two main islands in New Zealand

The South Island, also officially named Te Waipounamu, is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand in surface area; the other being the smaller but more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, and to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean. The South Island covers 150,437 square kilometres (58,084 sq mi), making it the world's 12th-largest island. It has a temperate climate.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Motueka River river in New Zealand

The Motueka River is located in the north of the South Island of New Zealand and is a popular tourist destination for watersports and fishing. The Motueka flows 116 kilometres (72 mi) from the mountains 40 km west of the city of Nelson in the southeast of the catchment and flows north to the Tasman Bay.


The surrounding district has a number of orchards, as well as growing a variety of specialised crops such as hops, and formerly serving as the main centre of tobacco growing in New Zealand. A number of small vineyards have developed in recent years, one (Neudorf) gaining an international reputation.

Orchard Intentionally planted trees or shrubs that are maintained for food production

An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit- or nut-producing trees which are generally grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive purpose. A fruit garden is generally synonymous with an orchard, although it is set on a smaller non-commercial scale and may emphasize berry shrubs in preference to fruit trees. Most temperate-zone orchards are laid out in a regular grid, with a grazed or mown grass or bare soil base that makes maintenance and fruit gathering easy.

Hops female flowers of Humulus lupulus

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a bittering, flavouring, and stability agent in beer, to which, in addition to bitterness, they impart floral, fruity, or citrus flavours and aromas. Hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine. The hop plant is a vigorous, climbing, herbaceous perennial, usually trained to grow up strings in a field called a hopfield, hop garden, or hop yard when grown commercially. Many different varieties of hops are grown by farmers around the world, with different types used for particular styles of beer.

Tobacco Agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus of nicotinia.

Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the Nicotiana genus and the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, and the general term for any product prepared from the cured leaves of the tobacco plant. More than 70 species of tobacco are known, but the chief commercial crop is N. tabacum. The more potent variant N. rustica is also used around the world.

Nearby beaches (such as Kaiteriteri Beach and Marahau) are very popular with holidaymakers, and the area around Motueka has one of the country's highest annual sunshine-hour indices.

Kaiteriteri Place

Kaiteriteri is a town and seaside resort in the Tasman Region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is close to both Marahau, the main gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, and the township of Motueka.

Marahau Place

Marahau is a very small town in the Tasman Region of the South Island of New Zealand, approximately 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of Motueka. Its location on Tasman Bay and at the southern entrance of Abel Tasman National Park makes it a popular holiday destination for those keen on outdoor activities. People access the Abel Tasman from Marahau by tramping, kayaking and water taxi. In Marahau itself, the beach offers sheltered and safe swimming, and horse trekking is popular throughout the busy summer season.

Motueka, as one of the nearest towns to the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks, has become the base of many tourism ventures in those parks, as well as in Nelson Lakes National Park, and in other recreational areas. Extensive limestone cave systems (including Harwoods Hole in the Takaka Hill area north of Motueka) attract cavers and rock climbers. Sea kayaking and tramping now attract many thousands of visitors each year.

Abel Tasman National Park national park of New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park is a New Zealand national park located between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay at the north end of the South Island. It is named after Abel Tasman, who in 1642 became the first European explorer to sight New Zealand and who anchored nearby in Golden Bay.

Kahurangi National Park national park

Kahurangi National Park in the northwest of the South Island of New Zealand is the second largest of the thirteen national parks of New Zealand. It was gazetted in 1996 and covers 4,529 square kilometres (1,749 sq mi), ranging to near Golden Bay in the north. Much of what was the North-west Nelson Forest Park formed the basis of the new park. Kahurangi Point, regarded as the boundary between the West Coast and Tasman Regions, is located in the park, as are the Heaphy Track and Mount Owen.

Nelson Lakes National Park national park

Nelson Lakes National Park is located in the South Island of New Zealand.

Many artists live in the area around Motueka, especially potters and reggae musicians. The Riverside Community, in nearby Lower Moutere is a pacifist intentional community. Founded in the 1940s, it is New Zealand's oldest cooperative living community. [4]

Pottery Craft of making objects from clay

Pottery is the process of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made by a potter is also called a pottery. The definition of pottery used by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is "all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical, structural, and refractory products." In archaeology, especially of ancient and prehistoric periods, "pottery" often means vessels only, and figures etc. of the same material are called "terracottas". Clay as a part of the materials used is required by some definitions of pottery, but this is dubious.

Reggae Music genre from Jamaica

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as "Rudie Blues", then "Ska", later "Blue Beat", and "Rock Steady". It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.

Pacifism opposition to war and violence

Pacifism is opposition to war, militarism, or violence. The word pacifism was coined by the French peace campaigner Émile Arnaud (1864–1921) and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress in Glasgow in 1901. A related term is ahimsa, which is a core philosophy in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. While modern connotations are recent, having been explicated since the 19th century, ancient references abound.


Motueka looking toward the south-west and the airport Motueka aerial photo.JPG
Motueka looking toward the south-west and the airport

The name Motueka, or more correctly Motuweka, comes from the Maori language, and means weka island, the weka being a small bird of the rail family.

Weka species of flightless bird

The weka is a flightless bird species of the rail family. It is endemic to New Zealand. Four subspecies are recognized but only two (northern/southern) are supported by genetic evidence. Weka are sturdy brown birds, about the size of a chicken. As omnivores, they feed mainly on invertebrates and fruit. Weka usually lay eggs between August and January; both sexes help to incubate.

The town is often colloquially referred to as "Mot" by some residents.


The Motueka District Museum Motueka Museum.JPG
The Motueka District Museum

The first known European visitor to the coast near Motueka in 1827 was French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville, of the French corvette Astrolabe. He explored and described much of the Tasman Bay shore line. Three ships carrying the New Zealand Company's Nelson expedition, led by Captain Arthur Wakefield, anchored at Astrolabe Roads, north of Kaiteriteri Beach—about 16 kilometres (10 mi) due north of Motueka—in October 1841. Kaiteriteri was selected as a site for the first settlement but was later abandoned in favour of Nelson Haven. The exceptional fertility of the soil and the suitability of the surrounding land for small farm settlement were the main reasons for the establishment of the second town of the Nelson settlement at Motueka in 1842. Motueka was created as a borough in 1900. During the period, 1853 to 1876, Motueka was administrated as part of the Nelson Province.

Geography and climate

Motueka is situated on the small Motueka Plain near the Motueka River which enters Tasman Bay about 4 km north of the town. To the west of the valley the land rises steeply to the Arthur and Pikiruna Ranges, and to the south the flat is broken by the gently rolling Moutere Hills.

The source of the Pearse River near Motueka is the deepest known cold-water cave in the world. [5]

Climate data for Nelson (27km away)
Record high °C (°F)30.2
Average high °C (°F)22.4
Average low °C (°F)13
Record low °C (°F)5.9
Average precipitation mm (inches)72
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)9810101110121313131212133
Mean monthly sunshine hours 2342421961891561501551661882232362502,385
Source: NIWA Climate Data [6]


The Motueka Ward of the Tasman District Council had an estimated population of 10,900 at 30 June 2009.


Motueka once served as a centre for the Plymouth Brethren: [7] their New Zealand patriarch James George Deck (1807–1884) lies buried in Motueka cemetery.


Talley's Seafood Division at Port Motueka Port Motueka.jpg
Talley's Seafood Division at Port Motueka

Horticulture is the main industry in the area surrounding Motueka, and the town benefits directly from this. Some of the main crops are apples, beer hops and kiwifruit. Due to the seasonal growth of many crops, the town's population increases greatly with seasonal workers, especially during late summer and early autumn for the apple 'pick'.

At the height of tobacco production, Motueka was home to two tobacco factories. One owned by Australian company WD & HO Wills Holdings and the other by Rothmans International. The tobacco industry has ceased to exist in the area.

Major employers in Motueka include:

New Zealand Energy Limited is a Motueka-based company that operates small hydroelectric power stations in Haast, Fox, Opunake and Raetihi.

Motueka Fire Station Motueka Fire Station, No Danger Today.jpg
Motueka Fire Station



During the period, 1853 to 1876, Motueka was administered as part of the Nelson Province.

The Motueka Borough Council was formed in 1900 and existed until 1989, when local government reforms saw it merged into the Tasman District Council. Today the Motueka Ward is represented by 3 Councillors and includes the nearby settlements of Kaiteriteri, Marahau, Ngatimoti and Riwaka. [3]

CouncillorsPeter Canton
Barry Dowler
Jack Inglis


The electorate of Motueka and Massacre Bay was created for the 1853 New Zealand general election and was succeeded by the electorate of Motueka in the 1860–61 general election which lasted until 1890. In 1896 the Motueka electorate was recreated, and lasted until 1946. Today Motueka is part of the West Coast-Tasman electorate.


There are nine primary schools and one secondary school in Motueka. [9]

Primary schools

Secondary schools


There are two local newspapers in Motueka: The Guardian Motueka - out every Wednesday and The Motueka Golden Bay News -out every Thursday. The area has a local radio station, Fresh FM , which also broadcasts to Blenheim, Nelson, Takaka and Tasman.


State Highway 60 runs through the centre of Motueka. Motueka State Highway 60 002.JPG
State Highway 60 runs through the centre of Motueka.

Motueka is served by State Highway 60 which runs 114.5 kilometres (71.1 mi) from Collingwood in Golden Bay to State Highway 6 near Richmond.

The former State Highway 61, now known as the Motueka Valley Highway connects State Highway 60 at Motueka to State Highway 6 at Kohatu Junction near Tapawera.

Port Motueka, 3 kilometres (2 mi) south-east of Motueka, on a tidal lagoon of some 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres), provides sheltered berthage for coastal vessels and is the Gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park.[ citation needed ]

The Motueka Aerodrome is 3 kilometres (2 mi) west of the town centre and serves as a base for the Motueka Aero Club and the Nelson Aviation College. In 1984, Motueka Air started scheduled passenger flights from Motueka to Wellington, New Zealand using a Piper Aztec aircraft. Within a couple of years the Motueka Air network had grown to include Nelson, Wellington and Palmerston North using additional Piper Chieftains. In 1988, Motueka Air was renamed Air Nelson and relocated to Nelson Airport. [10]

Culture and arts


Te Āwhina Marae is located in Motueka. It is a marae (meeting ground) for Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu and Te Atiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui, and includes the Turangāpeke wharenui (meeting house). [11] [12]


Motueka hosts the Kaiteriteri Carnival and Motueka Festival of Lights.




Sister cities

Motueka is twinned with:

Notable people

Related Research Articles

Nelson, New Zealand City in Nelson City, New Zealand

Nelson is a city on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay. Nelson is the oldest city in the South Island and the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand – it was established in 1841 and was proclaimed a city by royal charter in 1858.

Tasman District Place in New Zealand

Tasman District is a local government district in the north of the South Island of New Zealand. It borders the Canterbury Region, West Coast Region, Marlborough Region and Nelson City. It is administered by the Tasman District Council, a unitary authority, which sits at Richmond, with community boards serving outlying communities in Motueka and Golden Bay / Mohua.

Takaka, New Zealand town in Tasman, New Zealand

Takaka is a small town situated at the southeastern end of Golden Bay, at the northern end of New Zealand's South Island, located on the lower reaches of the Takaka River. It lies at the start of the winding road which follows the river valley before climbing over Takaka Hill, linking Golden Bay with the more populated coast of Tasman Bay to the southeast. The town is served by Takaka Aerodrome.

The Riuwaka River, formerly known as the Riwaka River, is located in the Nelson region in the northwest of New Zealand's South Island. It flows for 20 kilometres, entering Tasman Bay close to the town of Riwaka, 10 kilometres north of Motueka.

Riwaka Place in New Zealand

Riwaka is a small town in the north of New Zealand's South Island. It lies beside Tasman Bay, five kilometres north of Motueka, and close to the mouth of the Riuwaka River. As of 2006 it had a population of 549 people.

Tasman Bay bay in New Zealand

Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere, originally known as Blind Bay, is a large V-shaped bay at the north end of New Zealand's South Island. Located in the centre of the island's northern coast, it stretches along 120 kilometres (75 mi) of coastline and is 70 kilometres (43 mi) across at its widest point. It is an arm of the Tasman Sea, lying on the western approach to Cook Strait.

Golden Bay Air

Golden Bay Air Limited is a small airline based in Takaka, New Zealand. The airline currently operates four light aircraft from Takaka to Wellington and Karamea, and also from Nelson to Takaka and Karamea with connecting road shuttle services to the Abel Tasman National Park, the Heaphy Track in the Kahurangi National Park and to and from Takaka township. Other services provided by the airline include charter flights around New Zealand flown on demand and preset scenic routes around the National Parks as well as Farewell Spit.

Tasman District Council unitary authority for Tasman District, New Zealand

Tasman District Council is the unitary local authority for the Tasman District of New Zealand.

Samuel Stephens, Esquire was a 19th-century surveyor and New Zealand politician. His wife was Sarah.

Ngāti Rārua are descendants of the Polynesian explorers who arrived in Aotearoa aboard the waka (canoe) Tainui.

New Zealand State Highway 60 road in New Zealand

State Highway 60 is a state highway servicing the far northwest of the South Island of New Zealand. Running between the settlements of Richmond and Collingwood, it is 116 kilometres (72 mi) long and lies entirely within the Tasman District. It is the northernmost highway in the South Island and is a popular tourist route, servicing Motueka, Abel Tasman National Park, Golden Bay, and Farewell Spit.

The Takaka Aerodrome serves the town of Takaka, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Motueka Aerodrome airport in New Zealand

Motueka Aerodrome is the airport serving Motueka, New Zealand and is owned and managed by Tasman District Council.

The 1856 Motueka and Massacre Bay by-election was a by-election held in the Motueka and Massacre Bay electorate during the 2nd New Zealand Parliament, on 19 May 1856.

Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō is a Māori iwi (tribe) in the upper South Island of New Zealand. Its rohe include the areas around Golden Bay, Takaka, Tasman Bay, Motueka, Nelson and Saint Arnaud, including Taitapu and Kawatiri river catchments and Lakes Rotoiti, Rotoroa and the Tophouse.

Te Atiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui is a Māori iwi (tribe) in the upper South Island of New Zealand. Its rohe extends from Golden Bay and Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island to Cape Campbell, St Arnaud and Westport.


  1. "About Motueka". Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  2. "Motueka » Tasman District Council". 14 April 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Motueka Ward » Tasman District Council". 1 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  4. "Riverside Community | Cooperative Living for Peace and Sustainability". Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  5. Steward, Ian (10 May 2011). "Motueka cave 'world's deepest' of its kind". The Nelson Mail . Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  6. "Climate Data". NIWA. Retrieved 2 November 2007.
  7. Lineham, Peter J. "The Significance of J.G. Deck 1807-1884" (PDF). Christian Brethren Research Fellowship Journal 107 (1986). p. 13. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  8. "Our Heritage". Talleys. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  9. David Armstrong. "Schools in and around Motueka, New Zealand". Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  10. "Company Facts - About Us - Air Nelson - Air Nelson Site". Air Nelson. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  11. "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". Te Puni Kōkiri.
  12. "Māori Maps". Te Potiki National Trust.
  13. "Friendly Towns » Tasman District Council". Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  14. Orr, Katherine W. "Ann Boyce". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 1 March 2012.