The 'Island of Weka' is full of natural beauty, says Elisabeth Easther.
Origin of name: Originally called Motuweka, or Island of Weka (the native bird) while locals simply refer to their town as Mot.
Population: About 12,000.
Town slogan: Some call it the Riviera of the South Island.
Natural wonder: Get a load of Mt Arthur, it's gorgeous.
Old news: Tobacco used to be the biggest crop around these parts from the 1850s to 1995. In 1956 there was a rumour going round that the National Tobacco Company was strapped for cash so to prove their worth, they built the striking clock tower, known as the Rothmans Tower, and it still stands tall today.
Famous locals: Sir Keith Holyoake and Bill Rowling (former prime ministers), Denny Hulme (racing car driver), Josh Coppins (motocross champ), Owen Franks (rugby player), Simon Mannering (league player), Michael Myers (Chief Justice), Brigette Thomas (winner of New Zealand's Next Top Model, cycle 3).
Big bucks: Tourism, Talley's Group (est. 1936), timber and viticulture.
Sources of pride: The weather, those hefty sunshine hours, proximity to national parks, Mt Arthur, Motueka River, fishing and landscapes.
Town fiestas: The Festival of Lights brightens up mid-winter, with illuminations, photo competitions, window displays and activities. There are lots of running and cycling events too, while the return of the godwits is celebrated each September.
Here for a short time? Relish a fresh fruit icecream or yoghurt swirl at Toad Hall.
Best reason to stop: For the natural beauty, the amazing food and drink and the national parks.
Best place to take kids: The recently restored Saltwater Baths on the edge of foreshore are fab whatever the tide. Built in 1938 when sea bathing was considered dangerous due to sharks, the pools fell into disrepair but thanks to the hard work of locals, they're spiffing again.
Best park: Decks Reserve in the middle of town by the i-Site is wonderful with Japanese gardens on one side, fruit trees for the public to graze from and an historic walkway with plaques laid into ground revealing various highlights from local history.
Playground: Decks Reserve boasts all the playground favourites, including a new super-high climbing frame that's proving very popular.
Best walks: The inlet and foreshore trails are popular. Motueka Sandspit is lovely, whether you go for a short wander or do the full four hours' return. Then there are the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi national parks, and Nelson Lakes is only a couple of hours away.
Best view: Head out to the sandspit and look up the valley to Mt Arthur.
Best swim: Aside from the Saltwater Baths, Kaiteriteri Beach is stunning.
Best museum: Motueka District Museum on High St, set in an historic building. There are collections to do with the history of tobacco, the wars and taonga from the past.
Nice arts: The community is very creative and Up the Garden Path cafe contains a gallery with lots of brilliant arts, crafts and sculptures, and the gardens are fab too.
Top shop: Floral Affaire not only do flowers, they also sell delicious fudge and stunning jewellery.
Best food: Thai restaurant Chokdee has an amazingly diverse menu and everything is delicious.
Wet your whistle: The Sprig & Fern Tavern does a refreshing summer berry cider and lots of craft beers and great food.
Best mountain biking: Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park is outstanding, with tracks for all abilities.
Best adventures: Aside from fishing, hiking and canyoning Motueka is also the kayaking capital of the country.
Underground movement: If you know what you're doing you can travel up 67 km underground, entering through the world famous Harwood's Hole.
Bright idea: Ask at the i-Site where you can go to see glow-worms. For free. In the wild.
Wildlife: There are native birds everywhere, and sometimes you can see dolphins or orcas.
When a local has visitors staying: They take them to Mapua Wharf, to Ngarua Caves, into Abel Tasman on foot, by boat or kayak, and for a walk up Mt Arthur.
Safety warnings: Be aware of the tides in Araroa Inlet.
Thanks to Lois from the i-Site.