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This article is about the bay in northern New Zealand. For the similarly named region which surrounds the bay, see Bay of Plenty Regionmarker.
The Bay of Plenty is a large indentation in the northern coast of New Zealandmarker's North islandmarker. It stretches from the Coromandel Peninsulamarker in the west to Cape Runawaymarker in the east, a wide stretch of some 259 km of open coastline. The Bay of Plenty Regionmarker is centred on this body of water, also incorporating several large islands in the bay.

The name "Bay of Plenty" originated with James Cook during his 1769–70 exploration of New Zealand, who noted the abundant resources in the area. The Māori name for the bay is Te Moana-a-Toi ("the sea of Toi"), a reference to the ancestral explorer Toi-te-huatahi.


The coastline from Waihi Beachmarker in the west to Opape is defined as sandy coast, while the coast from Opape to Cape Runaway is rocky shore.

Sizeable harbours are located at Tauranga, Whakatane and Ohiwa. Major estuaries include Maketumarker, Little Waihi, Whakatane, Waiotahi and Waioekamarker/Otaramarker. Eight major rivers empty into the bay from inland catchments, including Wairoa, Kaituna, Taraweramarker, Rangitaikimarker, Whakatanemarker, Waioekamarker, Motumarker and Raukokoremarker Rivers.

The bay contains numerous islands, notably the active volcano Whakaari/White Islandmarker, which lies 50 kilometres from the North Island coast in the eastern bay. Other large islands include (from west to east) Matakana Islandmarker, Mayor Islandmarker, Motiti Islandmarker, and Moutohora Island.


The coast of the bay is dotted with several sizable settlements, the largest of which is the conurbation of the city of Taurangamarker and its neighbour Mount Maunganuimarker in the west. The town of Whakatanemarker is located in the centre of the coast. Other towns of note include Waihi Beachmarker, Katikatimarker, Maketumarker, and Opotikimarker. The market town of Te Pukemarker lies a short distance inland from the bay coast.

Most of the population along the bay's coast is concentrated in the western and central parts of the shore; the eastern part of the bay is sparsely populated hill country.

Economy and human use

The bay is a popular area for pleasure boating and game fishing, especially in the area around the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula at the bay's western end. Tauranga is one of New Zealand's major ports, with the Port of Taurangamarker handling large consignments of timber from the forested regions of the island's interior.

The favourable climatic and growing conditions around the bay's coast make this area a major fruit- and vegetable-growing region, with major crops including kiwifruit and apples. There is also productive pastoral land along the coast utilised for sheep and dairy farming.


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