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Title: Greymouth  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: South Island, Rundle Cup, New Zealand State Highway 73, Tai Poutini Polytechnic, Blackball, New Zealand
Collection: Grey District, Greymouth, Populated Places in the West Coast, New Zealand
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Skyline of Greymouth
Greymouth is located in West Coast
Country New Zealand
Region West Coast
District Grey District
 • MP Damien O'Connor (Labour)
Population (June 2015 estimate)[1]
 • Total 9,850
Postcode(s) 7805

Greymouth (; Māori: Māwhera) is the largest town in the West Coast region in the South Island of New Zealand, and the seat of the Grey District Council. The population of the whole Grey District is 13,650, which accounts for 42% of the West Coast's inhabitants. The Greymouth urban area had an estimated population of 9,850 (June 2015 estimates).[1] The District Council expects growth of 1.5% per year between 2006 and 2016.[2]


  • Location 1
  • Climate 2
  • History 3
  • Economy 4
  • Education 5
  • Suburbs 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Aoraki / Mount Cook and other mountains from Greymouth's beach

The town is located at the mouth of the Grey River, on a narrow coastal plain close to the foot of the Southern Alps. In clear weather, Aoraki / Mount Cook can be clearly seen to the south from near the town. The mouth of the river divides the town into three areas: Blaketown, close to the river's mouth on the south bank; Karoro, to the southeast, separated from Blaketown by a series of small estuarine lakes; and Cobden, formerly a separate town, on the river's north bank.

Greymouth is on State Highway 6, which connects it with Hokitika in the south and Westport in the north. It also stands at the terminus of State Highway 7, which runs through Dobson and Reefton, eventually reaching North Canterbury and its junction with State Highway 1 at Waipara, 55 kilometres (34 mi) north of Christchurch, via Lewis Pass. Highway 73 is accessed 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of Greymouth, which is the most direct route to or from Christchurch. The town is also the western terminus of the Midland line from Christchurch. Large coal trains often operate from Greymouth on this line to Christchurch. The famous TranzAlpine train also terminates at Greymouth. The Greymouth Airport is only 1.9 kilometres (1.2 mi) south of the centre of the town.


[3] Greymouth receives relatively evenly distributed large amounts of precipitation all the year, although not as extreme as with some tropical climates.

The highest record temperature was 30 °C (86 °F) on February 20, 1979, while the lowest record temperature was −5 °C (23 °F) on February 10, 1982.[4]

Climate data for Greymouth
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30
Average high °C (°F) 20.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 16.3
Average low °C (°F) 12.5
Record low °C (°F) 0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 200.4
Source #1: (altitude: 5m),[3] Climate Charts for precipitation (altitude: 3m 10')[4]
Source #2: Voodoo Skies for record temperatures[4]


  • The district council's website
  • Greymouth Street Map
  • Photo of the road and rail bridges c1930
  • Photo of SS Opouri off Greymouth bar c1948

External links

  1. ^ a b "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2015 (provisional)".  
  2. ^ "Key assumptions... (from the 'Long Term Community Outcomes Plan: 2006-2016" (PDF). June 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "Climate: Greymouth - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Greymouth, New Zealand". Voodoo Skies. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Greymouth (from Tourism New Zealand, the official New Zealand tourism agency)
  6. ^ a b Greymouth / Blackball (from the Tourism West Coast website)
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Pollard, John. "Rochfort, John".  
  9. ^ "Greymouth bar braved by experienced fisherman - NZ News - Video". 3 News. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Crean, Mike (30 May 2008). "A mayor with a big flood idea".  
  11. ^ Cobden Coastal Defence Gun Emplacement (from the '' website. Accessed 2008-01-16.)
  12. ^ "Widespread damage after Greymouth tornado".  
  13. ^ "Timeline - Pike River mine explosion".  
  14. ^ Beswick, Angela (24 November 2010). "Second explosion, no survivors". TV3 News. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  15. ^ How the West was won:Pike River on track - New Zealand Construction News, Volume 2, Issues 3, July 2007
  16. ^ Graham, Pam (14 January 2007). "Pike River coal mine goes ahead on DOC land".  
  17. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Greymouth High School
  18. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Greymouth Main School
  19. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: John Paul II High School
  20. ^ "Description of the School". John Paul II High School. 
  21. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: St Patrick's School, Greymouth
  22. ^ "Education Review Report: John Paul II High School". Education Review Office. August 2007. 
  23. ^ "Education Review Report: St Patrick's School Greymouth". Education Review Office. August 2006. 


See also

  • Cobden
  • Greymouth
  • Blaketown
  • Karoro
  • South Beach
  • Paroa
  • Rutherglen
  • Gladstone
  • Camerons

Running from north to south:


There is also a tertiary provider. Tai Poutini Polytechnic has its head office based in Greymouth. It also has campuses in Auckland, Christchurch, Hokitika, Reefton, Wanaka and Westport.

St Patrick's School is a full primary (years 1–8) school with a roll of 105.[21] Both are state integrated Catholic schools. The schools are adjacent to each other and have a shared Board of Trustees.[22][23]

John Paul II High School is a secondary (years 9–13) school with a roll of 183.[19] The school was formed in 1980 from the merger of Marist Brothers Boys’ School and St Mary’s High School.[20]

Greymouth Main School is a full primary (years 1–8) school with a roll of 346.[18]

Greymouth High School is a secondary (years 9–13) school with a roll of 549.[17]

There are four schools in the central Greymouth area, and other schools in the suburbs or adjoining areas of Blaketown, Cobden and Karoro.


The planned opening of the Pike River Mine in early 2008 spurred new investments in upgrading port facilities at the town.[15] Without the development, a closure of the port had been mooted, and hopes are now that the coal barges travelling to and from reshipment facilities in Taranaki can also carry containerised cargo to the town. The opening of the new mine, as well as the planned Spring Creek mine, was called the biggest investment happening in the area for a hundred years.[16]

Greymouth is also known for its Pounamu ("Greenstone", a form of Jade) carving industry which goes back to Māori origins.[5] The town also has a local brewery, Monteith's, which produces beer since 1868,[6] now sold countrywide.

The town's major industries include fishing, mining, forestry, and ecotourism, the latter two of these industries holding an uneasy relationship with each other. The Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, 45 kilometres (28 mi) to the north are a popular local tourist attraction, while many also pass through on the route to or from the glaciers to the south.


On 19 November 2010, there was an explosion at the Pike River Mine, trapping 29 miners.[13] Attempts to rescue the trapped miners were repeatedly delayed due to high levels of methane gas until a second explosion on 24 November was believed to dash all hope of survival for the miners.[14]

On 10 March 2005, a major tornado, which started as a waterspout, made landfall in Blaketown, a suburb of Greymouth. It quickly moved through the town passing just south of the main town centre. The tornado was one of the largest reported in recent history in the West Coast region and caused millions of dollars in damage and injured several people.[12]

Greymouth also has an historic World War II gun emplacement at Cobden. The Grey District Council destroyed part of this site, without consultation, in 2007 to make way for a sewer line.[11]

Greymouth has a history of coal and gold mining. When the mining industry started to decline, forestry became a new staple industry. Fishing has long been important to the town, despite the fact that the entrance to the Grey River has two notoriously dangerous sandbars; an inner and outer bar.[9] Greymouth was regularly flooded by the Grey River. Since the 1860s, the town had been under water almost two dozen times. When the town was flooded twice in 1988, the mayor of Greymouth, Barry Dallas, embarked on an ambitious project to build a flood protection wall. Since its completion, river flooding has not affected the town again.[10]

Fisherman statue on the seawall
Greymouth in 1924

From 1853 until the abolition of provinces in 1876, Greymouth was first part of Canterbury Province (the West Coast part of the Province was known as West Canterbury) and then part of an independent Westland Province. However Cobden, on the north (or right) bank of the Grey River was a part of Nelson Province from 1853 to 1876. At one point in this period Greymouth tried to join Nelson Province but this movement was ultimately unsuccessful. John Rochfort undertook the original survey of the site of the township in 1865.[7][8]

[5] Together with gold, coal mining was a major impetus in the town's early European history.[6]

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