West Coast Wilderness 122cm x 91cm Original Oil on Stretched Canvas by John Bradley
The West Coast (Māori: Te Tai Poutini) is a region of New Zealand on the west coast of the South Island, one of the more remote and most sparsely populated areas of the country. It is administered by the West Coast Regional Council. At the territorial authority level, the region comprises Buller District, Grey District and Westland District. The principal towns are Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika. The name Westland is used by some New Zealanders to refer to the whole of the West Coast, including Grey District, Buller District and Fiordland, and can also refer to the short-lived Westland Province of 1873–76. Fiordland is on the west coast, but is in the Southland Region rather than the West Coast Region. Inhabitants of the West Coast are colloquially known as “Coasters”.
The region reaches from Kahurangi Point in the north to Awarua Point in the south, a distance of 600 km. To the west is the Tasman Sea (which like the Southern Ocean can be very rough, with four-metre swells common), and to the east are the Southern Alps. Much of the land is rugged, with a coastal plain where much of the population resides. The land is very scenic, with wild coastlines, mountains and a very high proportion of native bush, much of it native temperate rain forest. It is the only part of New Zealand where significant tracts of lowland forest remain: elsewhere, for instance on the Canterbury Plains and in the Firth of Thames, they have been almost completely destroyed for settlement and agriculture. Scenic areas include the Haast Pass, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki and the Heaphy Track. The region has a very high rainfall due to the prevailing northwesterly wind pattern and the location of the Southern Alps, which give rise to heavy orographic precipitation. The rain shadow effect is responsible for the relatively arid climate of the Canterbury Plains on the other side of the Southern Alps. Industries on the West Coast include mining for coal and alluvial gold, forestry and wood processing, and also fishing(including whitebaiting), tourism and farming. Dairy farming has grown strongly – the local dairy co-operatives Westland Milk Products remained independent when most others merged to form Fonterra in 2001. Other industries are the manufacturing and sales of greenstone jewellery, sphagnum moss gathering and stone-collection for garden landscaping. The region has been included in the “Top 10 Coastal Drives of the World” by Lonely Planet.
Born in Sydney in 1945, John, has been interested in drawing and painting for as long as he can remember. He is one of Australia’s most desirable artists. With a background of Electronics Marketing and Advertising Management, it was quite a radical step to take up a career in art at 36 years of age. John is largely self-taught and has not been influenced by any past Australian Painter. John’s real love is the Australian landscape and he travels extensively in search of new material. Some of his favourite themes include steam locomotives, sailing ships, old historic buildings and street scenes, all reminders of times when the pace of life was a little slower and more meaningful. John has also many of his originals published in USA as well as painting for television programs.