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The Tasman District has a rich history from the days of the early settlers and gold miners.

According to tradition, the Māori waka Uruao, brought ancestors of the Waitaha people to Tasman in the 12th Century. Archaeological evidence suggests the first Māori settlers explored the region thoroughly, settling mainly along the coast where there was ample food.

Around 1828, Ngati Toa under Te Rauparaha and the allied northern tribes of Ngati Rarua and Ngati Tama, started their invasion of the South Island. They took over much of the area from Farewell Spit to the Wairau River.

The first immigrant ships from England arrived in 1842 and the European settlement of the region began under the leadership of Captain Arthur Wakefield.

Owen RiverIn 1848 Thomas Brunner and his Māori companions, Piki and Kehu and their wives began a 550 days journey from the West Coast to Nelson by way of the Buller Gorge. They suffered dreadfully and risked, among many others, the threats of drowning and exposure.

In the 1850s, agriculture and pastoral farming started and villages were established on the Waimea Plains and Motueka. In 1856, the discovery of gold near Collingwood sparked New Zealand's first gold rush. Significant reserves of iron ore were located at Onekaka and an iron works operated here during the 1920s and 1930s.  Fruit growing started at the end of the 19th Century.

Today the Tasman District is considered one of the most vibrant, beautiful and prosperous regions of New Zealand. While fruit growing, farming, fishing and forestry continue to be the lifeblood of the District, Tasman is developing other opportunities.

The district has a growing viticulture sector and is New Zealand's main hop growing area. With such natural resources as stunning rivers, mountains, beaches and native bush, tourism is providing a major boost to many traditional agricultural areas.