The traditional dairying regions in New Zealand have been mainly in the western and northern North Island, and in Nelson and West Coast regions of the South Island. All have generally reliable rainfall in summer and autumn. Of these regions, Waikato has the largest number of cows. However, from the mid-1990s to 2008, the national dairy herd numbers increased rapidly and about 30% of the total herd was in the South Island, predominantly Southland and Canterbury.
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Source: New Zealand official yearbook, 1957 and 2006