Taranaki is situated on the west coast of the North Island, surrounding the volcanic peak. A notable feature of the Taranaki region is its reliance on the region’s natural and physical resources for its economic and social wellbeing.

The climate and soils of the region are suited to high producing pastures, which accounts for 57% (414,000 hectares) of the region.

Approximately 40% of the region (over 290,000 hectares) is in indigenous forest and shrubland – mostly within the Egmont National Park and areas of the inland hill country.

Approximately 20% of the region is within the public conservation estate and set aside for nature heritage conservation. Areas such as the Egmont National Park play a significant role in the region’s economy. However, farming and other land based activities continue to play a prominent role in employment.

Taranaki is of strategic importance to New Zealand – the Taranaki basin is currently New Zealand’s only hydrocarbon producing area. The Kapuni and offshore Maui fields make up the major part of New Zealand’s natural gas resources. Other smaller fields produce crude oil or gas or both gas and condensate.

Taranaki has been dubbed 'the Texas of New Zealand', oil and gas stream in from offshore rigs. The presence of oil and gas in the region has given rise to new industries involved in the processing, distribution, use and export of hydrocarbons.

Production stations or gas treatment plants are located at Oaonui, Kapuni, Waihapa, Rimu, Kaimiro and the McKee oil and gas fields. The Pohokura production station is presently under construction. A methanol plant is located at the Waitara Valley, a UF resin plant at Waitara, an ammonia-urea plant is located at Kapuni, and large gas-fired power stations at Stratford, New Plymouth, and Whareroa.