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Haast

Haast is an area in the Westland District territorial authority on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. The Haast region covers over 2500km2.The region is named after Julius von Haast, a Prussian-born geologist instrumental in the early geological surveys of New Zealand.The 2006 census recorded a population of 297 for the Haast statistical area, a decrease of 12 from the 2001 census. The majority of this population is located in three communities: the Haast township, Haast Junction, and Haast Beach.The main economic activities in the Haast region are farming, fishing and tourism.Lake Moeraki is 30km to the northeast, and the Haast Pass is 63km to the southeast by road. State Highway 6 passes through Haast Junction and just to the east of Haast township.The rarest subspecies of kiwi, the Haast tokoeka, is only found in the mountains of the Haast region.HistoryEuropean settlement of the area dates back to the 1870s. The remoteness of the area initially limited access to seagoing vessels, with some rough tracks from the north and east.The present Haast township was originally a New Zealand Ministry of Works road construction camp, which expanded into a permanent township when the opening of the Haast Pass in 1962 made the region more accessible. The road through the pass to Wanaka was upgraded in 1966.
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