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Haast, New Zealand facts for kids

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TWC Ship Creek• Stewart Nimmo • MRD 1617.jpg
Country New Zealand
Region West Coast
District Westland District
Ward Southern
Electorates West Coast-Tasman
Te Tai Tonga
 • Total 84
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s) 03
Local iwi Ngāi Tahu
Haast Beach
Haast Beach in 1968

Haast is a small town in the Westland District territorial authority on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. The Haast region covers over 2,500 square kilometres (970 sq mi).

The region is named after Julius von Haast, a Prussian-born geologist instrumental in the early geological surveys of New Zealand.

The main economic activities in the Haast region are farming, fishing and tourism.

Lake Moeraki is 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the northeast, and the Haast Pass is 63 kilometres (39 mi) to the southeast by road. State Highway 6 passes through Haast Junction and just to the east of Haast township. The settlement of Okuru is located on the coast 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south-west of Haast.

The rarest subspecies of kiwi, the Haast tokoeka, is only found in the mountains of the Haast region.


European settlement of the area dates back to the 1870s. The remoteness of the area initially limited access to seagoing vessels, with some rough tracks from the north and east.

The present Haast township was originally a New Zealand Ministry of Works road construction camp, which expanded into a permanent township when the opening of the Haast Pass in 1962 made the region more accessible. The road through the pass to Wanaka was upgraded in 1966.

In 1990 the Haast area was included as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, giving international recognition as a location of significant natural value to Te Wahipounamu - The South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.


Climate data for Haast
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 19
Average low °C (°F) 10
Average precipitation mm (inches) 310
Source: Weatherbase


Haast Junction is located on the southwest bank of the Haast River, immediately south of the Haast Bridge, at the junction of State Highway 6 and the Haast–Jackson Bay Road.

The smaller Haast Beach is on the coast of the Tasman Sea, approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) west southwest of Haast Junction, on the Haast–Jackson Bay Road.

The larger Haast township is located on the Haast River, approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) south of Haast Junction, on State Highway 6. The New Zealand Department of Conservation operates a visitor centre in Haast township, offering a wide range of information about the surrounding area.


The population of Haast town was 84 in the 2018 census, an increase of 30 from 2013. There were 42 males and 39 females. 89.3% of people identified as European/Pākehā, 14.3% as Māori, 3.6% as Pacific peoples and 7.1% as other ethnicities. 10.7% were under 15 years old, 25.0% were 15–29, 46.4% were 30–64, and 14.3% were 65 or older.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 300 —    
2013 240 −3.14%
2018 258 +1.46%
TWC Ship Creek• Stewart Nimmo • MRD 1821
Ship Creek, 20 km north of Haast

The Haast statistical area, which at 4,099 km2 (1,583 sq mi) is much larger than the town, had a population of 258 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 18 people (7.5%) since the 2013 census, and a decrease of 42 people (-14.0%) since the 2006 census. There were 144 households. There were 132 males and 123 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.07 males per female. The median age was 52.6 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 24 people (9.3%) aged under 15 years, 36 (14.0%) aged 15 to 29, 138 (53.5%) aged 30 to 64, and 57 (22.1%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 86.0% European/Pākehā, 11.6% Māori, 4.7% Pacific peoples, 4.7% Asian, and 3.5% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 18.6%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 46.5% had no religion, 39.5% were Christian, 1.2% were Buddhist and 1.2% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 27 (11.5%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 51 (21.8%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $27,000, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 147 (62.8%) people were employed full-time, 27 (11.5%) were part-time, and 3 (1.3%) were unemployed.


The Haast School is a coeducational full primary (years 1–8) school with a student roll of 11 as of July 2016. The school opened in the 1890s and is the most isolated school in the mainland of New Zealand.

There are no secondary schools in the Haast area. The nearest secondary school is Mount Aspiring College, 140 kilometres (85 mi) away over the Haast Pass in Wānaka, which is too far away to be practical. Most secondary students instead board at secondary schools in Alexandra, Oamaru or Dunedin.


The Haast area is not connected to the national electricity grid. New Zealand Energy operates a distribution network supplying the town. Electricity is generated by a 800-kilowatt hydroelectric scheme on the Turnbull River, backed up by a 375-kilowatt diesel generator.

Haast received mobile coverage in May 2018. 3G mobile coverage is provided for all three mobile networks within a 3 km (2 mi) radius of Haast township.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Haast (Nueva Zelanda) para niños

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