I have a friend in New Plymouth who attends some events run by the local ToyWorld which has a decent section for miniatures, RPGs, paints and hobby games. Friend plays mostly X-Wing Miniatures and Armada, but enjoys most hobby games that I have as well. He isn't on BGG though (I know shock to me too) but I can connect you guys if you want.
Also, I am in Wanganui...so not THAT far away! I work two jobs but make sure I arrange quarterly gaming events that average 10 people, some coming form New Plymouth and Palmerston North. We do what we must to get a group together!
I have personally made a couple of trips to New Plymouth this year just to spend time playing games up there, imagine I will do so again before the year is out.