The Buller River at Westport, West Coast, New Zealand
The West Coast Gold Rush between 1864 and 1867 created numerous gold rush towns. After that time, the population dwindled, but the main towns that still exist on the coast had become established.
Following gold, the next mineral to make the West Coast valuable was coal. Discovered near the Buller River in the mid 1840s, mining began in earnest during the 1860s. By the 1880s, coal had become the region’s main industry, with mines throughout the northern half of the region, especially around Westport. Many of these continued in operation until the mid 20th century, and several survive today.