The History of Hokitika

Hokitika is a small township on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

It is situated 40 kilometres south of Greymouth and is close to the mouth of the Hokitika River. Hokitika made its mark in history in 1864 when it was founded on the back of the West Coast gold rush. It was the capital of Westland Province (1873-1876) until provinces were abolished.

Hokitika Population

Hokitika had one of the country’s most populated areas during the gold mining years (circa 1866). However, the population by 2001 was only just over 4,500. Many inhabitants of Hokitika and the surrounding area move there for the lifestyle offered by the West Coast. ‘Coasties’ are renowned for their friendliness and close-knit communities.

What Defines Hokitika Today

Hokitika’s major industries of greenstone (Maori jade), gold, coal and forestry have dwindled over the last century.

Nowadays Hokitika is known for:

  • Ecotourism – natural attractions such as the rivers, gorge, beach and ocean
  • Arts and crafts – greenstone carving and glass blowing
  • Wild Foods Festival – ‘bush tucker’ festival running since 1990
  • Dairying – production of milk products for overseas and domestic markets.

If you are planning a visit to Hokitika, find out more about our Accommodation options.