The Waikato Region is located in the upper part of the North Island of New Zealand and has a population of 431,000. The Waikato has a mild climate with moderate rainfall, with the higher western hills attracting most of the rain.
The Waikato Region is the fourth largest regional economy in New Zealand, after Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington. Given its climate, the region is strongly based on agriculture, mainly dairy farming.
The region consists of eleven Territorial Authorities (some authorities lie over more then one region), which is the most of any region in the country. These are the Waikato District, Matamata-Piako District, Waipa District, South Waikato District, Hamilton City, Thames-Coromandel District, Waipa District, Otorohanga District, Waitomo District, Hauraki District and Taupo District.