The name Taranaki doesn’t currently inspire instant recognition for most people outside of New Zealand. A green and fertile region perched on the edge of the North Island’s west coast, it was put on the tourism map in 2017 when the Lonely Planet travel guide ranked Taranaki second in its global Top 10 Regions list. Aside from that, this region of 120,000 people has a strong Māori presence and is known as the ‘Texas of New Zealand’ thanks to its large oil and gas reserves. It is also a hub for dairy production and agriculture in the country.
But Taranaki has formulated an ambitious blueprint for just transition which could put it on the world map. In 2018, the New Zealand government banned any future offshore oil and gas exploration in the country, spurring the creation of the Taranaki 2050 Roadmap. A landmark joint project involving government, workers, employers, Māori, local communities, civil society and other stakeholders, the roadmap is spearheaded by the region’s economic development agency Venture Taranaki with the aim of plotting what Taranaki’s low-carbon future might look like once it moves away from its high-carbon sectors, particularly oil and gas, and dairy farming.