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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



North Taranaki Bight

The North Taranaki Bight is a prominent indentation on the west coast of the North Island. Although neither so large nor so deep as the South Taranaki Bight, it, too, originated in the development of volcanic activity on the Egmont volcanic chain. A series of ancient marine beaches are present on which occur considerable deposits of titaniferous magnetite in black dune and beach sands. Those through which the main road passes at Mokau are readily seen. Of the ports along the Bight, Mokau (now closed) and Waitara are river ports which suffer from the development of sand bars across their mouths. The Port of New Plymouth is an artificial breakwater harbour which uses the Sugar Loaves to provide some shelter.

The only two important towns on the shores of the North Taranaki Bight are New Plymouth, the main centre of Taranaki, and Waitara, important because of its freezing works.

With a few exceptions at the river mouths, the shore is backed by cliffs ranging from 60ft near New Plymouth to several hundred feet at White Cliffs, 10 miles north of Urenui.


Thomas Ludovic Grant-Taylor, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Lower Hutt.