South Island - New Zealand
Location of Hokitika
Hokitika is a township on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, 40 kilometers (25 mi) south of Greymouth, and close to the mouth of the Hokitika River.
According to the 2006 census, the usually resident population of the Hokitika urban area was 3,078.
Founded on gold mining in 1864, it was a centre of the West Coast goldrush.
By late 1866 it was one of the country's most populous centres.
It became the capital of the short-lived Westland Province from 1873 until the abolition of provinces in 1876.
The population has declined greatly since that time but the population of the Westland District is now on the rise thanks to "lifestyle inhabitants".
The major industries of greenstone (pounamu), gold, coal, and forestry have all dwindled over the last century, but a growing ecotourism industry has grown up and the town is starting to show signs of recovery.
It has become a major tourist stop on the West Coast's main highway route, with carving of greenstone an important local industry.
It is also gaining a reputation for its annual wild food festival which has been running since 1990.
Another important industry is dairying, with Westland Milk Products being based in the town.
A co-operative that has been producing dairy products for many years, it is increasing its production at about 10% annually, and in recent years has installed plants to produce new products such as different types of proteins, AMF and others.
The Hokitika Sock Machine Museum in town has on display a collection of antique sock-knitting machines and invites visitors to knit their own socks.
State Highway 6 passes through the town.
Air New Zealand Link provides daily flights to Christchurch operated by Eagle Airways.
The airport is adjacent to the town, immediately to the north-east.
A branch line railway known as the Hokitika Branch runs to the town from Greymouth; it opened in 1893 and an extension to Ross was open from 1909 to 1980.
Passengers to Hokitika were initially served by "mixed" trains that carried both goods and passengers, and in 1936, these services were augmented by a Leyland diesel railbus service that ran from Hokitika to Greymouth, Christchurch, and briefly Reefton.
In the early 1940s, the Vulcan railcars were introduced and they provided a twice-daily service between Ross and Christchurch via Hokitika.
The "mixed" trains continued to operate until 1967, and all passenger services to Hokitika ceased when the Vulcan railcars stopped running past Greymouth in 1972.
Since then, the line to Hokitika has been freight-only with traffic primarily coming from Westland Milk Products.
Hokitika Customhouse, built in in 1895 when Hokitika was still an official port of entry to NZ.
In 1865, after the discovery of gold in the area, the town became the official port of entry of the West Coast.
A boom period ensued when Hokitika was second only to Auckland, with reports of over 40 ships in the harbour at one time, with more waiting offshore.
The lack of nearby coal meant that the port declined rapidly along with the gold, though Hokitika remained an official entry port until the 1950s.
A school was described as "recently opened" in Hokitika in 1875, and had nearly 350 students.
The Hokitika District High School provided both primary and secondary education for the area for many years.
The current high school is Westland High School, which caters for years 7-15 and has a decile rating of 6 and a roll of 479.
Hokitika School is a contributing primary (years 1-6) school with a decile rating of 4 and a roll of 170.
St Mary's School is a full primary (years 1-8) school with a decile rating of 5 and a roll of 108.
It is a state integrated Catholic school.
All these schools are coeducational.
For more information about Hokitika see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in June 2009. E. & O.E.
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