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Kumara is a township on the west side of the Taramakau River, 28 kilometres north of Hokitika.
Kumara’s most famous resident was Richard Seddon, who opened a hotel and became mayor. He later moved into national politics and became the Premier of New Zealand from 1893 to 1906, an unmatched five terms. Gold was discovered relatively late in Kumara (in 1876).
Over the next 20 years huge water races and sludge channels were constructed, primarily by Chinese miners (including in the adjacent settlement of Dillmanstown). Mining declined in the late 1890s, but dredging continued in the Taramakau valley until the 1960s.
Kumara has experienced a renaissance in recent years and new businesses have been established. Kumara is now part of the West Coast Wilderness Trail, which is a popular tourist attraction for cyclists.
The Kumara Racing Club (established 1887) is still going strong and hosts the Kumara Races on the second Saturday in January which is the largest event in the town.
Kumara Junction is 7 km north-west of Kumara, at the intersection of State Highway 6 with State Highway 73. It is the starting point of the annual Coast to Coast Race, held in early February, which crosses the South Island, and includes cycling, mountain running and kayaking.