The dominant feature of the Taranaki landscape in the western part of the North Island of New Zealand is this conical dormant volcano which last erupted in the mid nineteenth century. Prior to European discovery by Captain Cook in the late 18th century the mountain was known to the Maori as Taranaki, thought to be derived from two words Tara (mountain) and ngaki (shining). When Captain Cook discovered New Zealand he named the mountain after John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont, the First Lord of the Admiralty who promoted Cook’s first voyage. In 1986 the Government ruled that there would be two alternative and equal official names, “Mount Taranaki” or “Mount Egmont”.
The flat land that surrounds Taranaki is very fertile and ideal for dairy farming and the region is one of the three major milk producing areas in the country. The other key economic driver in Taranaki is oil and natural gas which was discovered in 1865 but only exploited on a large commercial scale after 1959.
On the day this image was taken the weather was changeable, but clearing. We were hoping for a clear view of the mountain but the lingering clouds from a westerly front that had passed over the region in the previous day still hung about. Taranaki is the first place on the North Island to cop incoming south-westerly fronts which ensure that the grass is always lush to produce the “white gold” of the dairy industry. On a clear winter day the mountain is magnificent with its crown of snow glistening in the sunlight.
I like this picture in the way that the sky looks a bit grumpy with cloud while the land shows happiness with new green sprout. Contrast! And the mountain embraces it all.
December 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm
Thanks EunHd. Yes, it was an interesting combination. For a while we didn’t know whether it was going to be raining or fine, such was the changeable nature of the morning. I liked also the patterns in the rows of newly sprouted corn. Chris G
December 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm
Hi Chris. My husband and I spent 3 weeks in NZ several years ago and absolutely loved it. It’s still his favorite trip ever and for me second only to our African safari. Looking forward to more posts!
December 15, 2012 at 2:54 am
Thank you Tina. We love our country and travel within it often but we also love to travel in the rest of the world as well. For a couple of small islands New Zealand has a lot to offer. However, unless one travels abroad it is easy to become complacent and myopic. We are so far from the rest of the world in our corner of the Pacific Ocean that once the decision is made to travel abroad you just go for it and make the most of the time available. We have about six weeks planned for the US and Canada after a trip to Europe next year. I enjoy reading your blog and love your photographs. Regards, Chris
December 15, 2012 at 6:58 am