The region of Marlborough covers the northeastern part of the South Island, from the fjord-like Marlborough Sounds (which are actually drowned valleys) in the north, down to the headwaters of the Awatere Valley 250 km to the south, and from the mountains of the Richmond ranges in the west across to the tops of the Kaikouras on the East coast.
As with all of the South Island regions, the area is large, and includes wide swathes of sparsely populated land which in Marlborough is mostly mountains and bush but where possible supports farming of whatever type suits – which in this region includes the sea.
Aquaculture, specifically mussel farming, is an important economic activity for the Marlborough Sounds, but the region’s signature crop grows in the river plains to the east. Grapes - in particular, Sauvignon Blanc.
It is a remarkable fact that this region which now proudly claims to produce the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world has only being growing wine commercially for about 30 years.
Just three years after planting his first Sauvignon Blanc vines in the region, Ernie Hunter won six national awards with the first vintage – and then four years later won the top award at the Sunday Times Wine Festival in London.
Since then the Marlborough wine industry has led an extraordinary expansion in the production of and global regard for New Zealand wines. Other regions have become famed in their turn for particular styles, but behind it all – and now producing over half of all the New Zealand wine exported – sits the consistent quality and distinctive style of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
The main town in the region is Blenheim, which has coped well with the region’s new fame, which has also helped promote the region’s other produce – and the fact that great wine climates are also great for people.
More of New Zealand’s iconic scenery, warm settled summer days and cool autumn nights provide a highly desirable environment for both tourists and residents, and it is no surprise that many who visit Marlborough want to return – to be part of it.
However currently, due to the relatively low overall population base there is no SSNZ Marlborough Office.
The government also provides support for newcomers to create their own local networks.
To find out more, visit theMarlborough Newcomers Network.
The Newcomers Network is supported by Settling In, an initiative of Family and Community Services (Ministry of Social Development).