While Auckland is usually seen as the economic powerhouse of New Zealand, some recent reports indicate that the real economic growth is happening in other parts of the country.
An interesting article appeared in the New Zealand Herald recently. The article reported that the fastest growing region in the country at the moment is Nelson. This is followed in second place by Northland and the Waikato. Northland in particular is interesting, because it is a region that has suffered relatively high unemployment for years. The Waikato does not surprise me, having visited and seen Hamilton within the last year. But in terms of Nelson, its strong performance is reportedly fuelled by growth in tourism, horticulture, viticulture and construction. Auckland meanwhile, sits in 13th place, perhaps limited in its ability to achieve growth as a result of problems like housing and traffic.
So if you are an Aucklander tired of the Monday to Friday pace, or perhaps a migrant looking for an alternative destination to settle, Nelson might be your place. The website www.nelsonnz.com describes the following features about Nelson, which makes it an attractive place to be.
1. Great Climate – The Nelson Tasman region has an enviable Mediterranean and sunny   climate that allows visitors to explore and enjoy all year.
2. Three National Parks – Nelson Tasman is blessed with three national parks within its boundaries. The popular Abel Tasman National Park entices visitors.
3. Cycling Mecca – Welcome to the Heart of Biking in New Zealand. The Nelson Tasman region is a cycling mecca.
4. Food Wine & Beer – Wine and craft beer enthusiasts will find the cellar doors of passionate winemakers and brewers open.
5. Arts & Culture – The Nelson Tasman region is steeped in Maori history and a pivotal place for European occupation in New Zealand.
6. Hobbit Film Locations – The Nelson Tasman region is home to seven film locations covering the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) and The Hobbit.
7. Suggested Itineraries – We recommend a range of one, three and five day itineraries to see the best of Nelson Tasman region.
Despite these attractive features of Nelson, personally, I’ve never been there! It is an old joke that when thinking of New Zealand, there is Auckland on the one hand and then “the rest of the country”. Perhaps Nelson is something Aucklanders like myself need to open our minds to!