South Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand

AA road sign. Totora Valley, Nov. 14 2009. 
Know a town's street-names, and you know half its history. 

Towns and Communities

Route follows State Highway 8 NW from Timaru.

Place	Altitude (m) 	 (ft) 
Timaru  	   1	    3 
Washdyke	  12 	   39
Levels		  22	   72 
Pleasant Point	  58 	  190 
Cave		 183	  600 
Albury		 287 	  941 
Cricklewood	 315	 1033 
Fairlie		 335	 1099 
Kimbell		 446	 1463 
Burkes Pass 	 623	 2043 
Lake Tekapo	 749	 2457 
Simons Pass	 558	 1830
Lake Pukaki	 474 	 1555
Omarama		 426	 1397 
Hakataramea	 294 	  964 

Many settlements within the region adopted or modified the Maori names already existing. eg. Timaru, Temuka, and Waimate. Rivers: Tengawai, Opihi, Orari, Pareora, Otaio, Waihao... 

Enjoy Timaru and the beautiful stained-glass windows which are found in chapels and churches, entranceway to arts and crafts homes of Timaru and the Aigantighe and at the South Canterbury Hospice allowing light to shed and fall into many many hues and bringing joy and opening doors.


Timaru: Originally named Te Maru a "place of shelter" for Maori canoeist. Reefs formed on solidified lava (bluestone) which flowed from Mt Horrible created the roadstead. A  whaling station was set up here in the 1839 by the Weller brothers of Sydney and one of the ships which picked up whale oil was the 'Caroline' for which the bay is named. The Rhodes brothers from Yorkshire, England set up the first sheep run "Levels" in South Canterbury in 1851.  In 1859 the English ship "Strathallan" arrived with the first significant influx of 120 immigrants. By 1874 the population of the settlement was still under two hundred.  There were multiple shipwrecks in the harbour until the artificial harbour was completed in 1906 now the Port of Timaru is a busy multipurpose bulk handling facility.  Exports include frozen meat, wool and flour. The Benvenue Monument commemorates the nine drowned in 1882. Benvenue Ave, Strathallan and Perth streets were named after ships. Other streets were named in honour of early settlers. e.g. Baker, Campbell, Dawson, Evans, Fraser, Hayes, Hayman, Le Cren, Stafford, Unwin, Rhodes, etc. Timaru is located 163km (100 miles) southwest of Christchurch. If you visit Timaru take a walk along Caroline Bay. The northern car park is the start of the Benvenue Cliffs / Dashing Rocks one hour walk. Plaques nailed to a post commemorates lost ships. Gives the best view of the harbour. Pick up a information brochure from the historic bluestone, solidified lava,1870 Landing Services Building on George near the railway station. This is the last remaining building of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. The railway station has a tearoom and restrooms. Or visit the Timaru Botanic Gardens located between the hospital and the cemetery or Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Craigie Ave, the refurbished Theatre Royal on lower Stafford St. The South Canterbury Historical Museum a good place to start genealogy research and they have a display on Richard Pearse as well as other displays on early settlement. The District Library has a good collection of books of local interest and is located diagonally across from the  beautiful St. Mary's Church on Sophia Street. Timaru District Council website Washdyke was incorporated into Timaru city in 1969.
Jan. 2008 photos - large images - Old woollen mill, Champion Flour Mill, old building and caravan 2, Scottish Hall Barnard St, Bus and Coach Depot, St Mary's Hall, just up Church St., rooflines.

Population for Timaru. NZ Official Yearbook for 1998

1881	 3,923		1957	23,700
1886     3,754		1961    26,424
1905     6,424		1986    28,676
1911    11,280		1991    27,637
1931    18,030		1996    27,521
1936    18,771		1997    27,732
			2001	26,300
			2006    26,895

The Times, Tuesday, Apr 22, 1879
Population in 1876
Geraldine - 13,164
Waimate 4,269
Population on the 3rd April 1881
County or Borough 	Male Female Total 
Geraldine County 	7028 5687 12715 
Timaru Borough 		2117 1806 3,923  
Waimate County 		2118 1320  3438 
Waimate Borough 	 875  734  1609 

Timaru District Census 2001
On 6 March 2001, the 31st New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings was held. The Timaru District has 1.1% of the population of New Zealand. Access to telecommunication systems 4,557 households or 27.7% in the Timaru District have access to the Internet, compared with 37.4% for all of New Zealand.

2001			New Zealand 	Timaru District  2013
Males 			1,823,007 	20,319 
Females 		1,914,270 	21,645 
Total	 		3,737,280 	41,967 		43,932
Change since 1991 Census  363,354 	 - 615 

South Canterbury's population  2006    55,318  NZ 4,027,947
Total population 2018: 4,699,755 (2013: 4,242,048)

Auckland Star, 13 October 1945, Page 6
CENSUS RETURNS WELLINGTON, Friday. Latest population figures compiled from the recent census are as follows, the comparative figures for 1936 being given in parentheses:� Boroughs.
Temuka, 2078 (1911)
Timaru, 18,260 (17,397)

 Auckland Star, 8 April 1936, Page 20 CENSUS RETURNS.
WELLINGTON, Tuesday. The following additional preliminary census returns have been supplies by the Census and Statistics Office, the figures 10 years ago being in parentheses
Levels County. 4981 (4849); increase, 132.
Temuka Borough. 1910 (1804); increase, 46.

Timaru's population jumped 2364 from 43,932 in 2013 to 46,296 in 2018 (5.4 per cent), while Waimate grew 279 from 7536 to 7815 (3.7 per cent). The Mackenzie district grew from 4158 to 4866 between the 2013 and 2018 census, or 17 per cent.

Images of Timaru from the State Library of Victoria, AUS.

30th Sept. 2013. Welcome to Timaru. Rubicon...the nicest red I have seen. It is on roadside across from Timaru sign on the way into Timaru, north side of town.

Washdyke: There was a stream here where the Rhodes brothers dipped their sheep. McCain Foods, a large exporter of processed vegetables, has a plant in the area.

Pleasant Point: Located 19 Km  north-west of Timaru on State Highway 8 and 40 km south-east of Fairlie, grew up around an accommodation house that was built in 1864. Today Pleasant Point a dormitory town for Timaru and a service centre for the rural hinterland. The Pleasant Point Railroad and Historical Museum at the old depot has local history displays and the "Fairlie Flyer" a  AB699 steam engine built in 1922 in built Coromandel that made its last run between Fairlie and Timaru in 1967.  The line to Fairlie was completed in 1883 and in the later years only a freight train ran. aka The Point. 1887. Population 2001 - 3,450

Cave: Near Cave is St. David's Memorial Church, built from local boulders and without any nails, was built by Thomas David Burnett to commemorate his parents, Andrew and Catherine, who took up the Mt Cook station in 1864, and as a memorial to the pioneer settlers who developed the Mackenzie County.  T.D. Burnett, had a farm at Cave, and was a member of the Mackenzie County Council and M.P for Temuka from 1919 until his death in 1941 and was buried on Mt. Cook Station.  He was an authority on the region and wrote articles for the Timaru Herald in 1925 and The Press. 

Albury: A community. The site of a railway goods shed on the Fairlie-Timaru line. In 1899 Mr & Mrs West were the hotelkeepers at the Railway Hotel, Albury. Hotelkeepers were obliged to keep a lamp burning 'with two burners' from sunset to sunrise, publican was sworn in as constable, a visitors book had to be provided and had to be sent to the Clerk of the Court at Christchurch a week before the annual licensing meeting.

Cricklewood: A community. The site of a railroad goods shed on the Fairlie-Timaru line.

Fairlie: "The Gateway to the Mackenzie County".  First known as Fairlie Creek, after the town of Fairlie, a village in the parish of Largs in the north of Ayrshire Co., Scotland.  Fairlie is located 62 kms NW from Timaru on Highway 8. The Fairlie cemetery is on the left as you enter the township and a splendid drive of elms, a deciduous tree, greets you and frames the Two Thumb Range dominated by Fox Peak (7604ft 2317m). The actual peak is split between  'Lilydale' & 'Fox's Peak Station', neighbouring runs.  The railway reached Fairlie in 1884 and terminated at Eversely.  The railway line went down the main street just to the left of the median. The line closed in 1967.  The station was moved near the Mabel Binney Colonial Cottage on the Mt. Cook Rd. and now houses horse drawn and farm machinery. Timeframes has a wonderful photograph of the station in 1903. The old
Fairlie Library was 40% destroyed by fire in Oct. 2011. The building is registered as category 2 with the Heritage NZ was 97 years old. Pop. 2001 1,600. census data Mayor of Fairlie, 2010- 2013 + Claire Barlow said "I won without being a local, a farmer, or a man." she was the receptionist at the Mackenzie District Council for seven years

Mackenzie Pipe Band, 1998 centennial A & P Easter Show.Easter Monday the Mackenzie Highland A & P show is held at the show grounds in Fairlie and here you can see dog trails, show jumping, wood chopping, Celtic dancing, kennel club, home industries, sheep, wool and livestock displays, farm machinery exhibits plus you can give a donation at the R.S.A. stand and receive a poppy. The grand parade of stock is always led by the Mackenzie Pipe Band. 1998 was the shows centennial. It is one of the best one day shows in New Zealand. Take along a picnic lunch and spread a blanket on the ground at lunch time, behind your car, as the locals have done for 100 years. (Book was available show day) Mackenzie District Council website. The Mackenzie District's population 2002 - 3717 people. Lake Opuha.
Streets in Fairlie named after citizens: Arthur, Banks,  Buchanan, Doon, Frayne, Hamilton,  Gall, Gillingham, Gordon, Gray, Kirke, Martin, Nixons,  Sloane, Struthers, Talbot, Taylor.     
The Fairlie Museum Archives

Timaru Herald, 19 December 1893, Page 2
The Fairlie Recreation ground, 29 acres, is gazetted as a public domain, and the Mackenzie County Council are appointed the domain board.

It was good enough for our predecessors to transform an old stable into a hall to last 100 years, surely it is up to us ensure the same building amenity exists for our future generations. Leo Crampton Chairman of the Centennial Project Committee.  1 July 2020

That was down the Gorge Rd, right near where the Fairlie Golf Course is now. This photo was taken from the Fairlie Golf Course in Nov. 2011.

Looking south towards Timaru from the Allandale Rd. Nov.2011

 WA-38420-F "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library".
 Their vehicles were Bentleys. The Kimbell Straight, May 1955 with Mt. Dobson, to the right. Some remember sunny Sunday mornings in the early 1930s when Stan Jones, Billy Hamilton and Lucy Wills and occasionally Matthew Wills would tune their vehicles at Jones Motors and then go up to the Kimbell straight and try them out. What a great sound and can clearly remember Lucy and also stood admiring her Bentley parked outside the CFCA with the motor still hot from the drive down from Tekapo Station with that lovely (for boys) smell of hot oil and the steady popping sounds as the motor cooled down and perhaps the real clincher, seeing the hand brake lever on the outside of the body.

Fairlie, altitude 1099ft. (335m) 18 July 2015 with Fox Peak, 7,604ft (2317m) to the right and Mt. Ribbonwood between the Caltex sign and the street light.
2nd photo: View from Mt. Michael of Mt. Ribbonwood, approx. 6,286' (1916m), far right. Bare shingle, above the vegetation line, which is tussock hills.

"One day out in the back of beyond you come across a small town, run-down because many of its young people have headed for the city. In an unpretentious building you discover a local art gallery-cum-museum. A solitary caretaker puffing a pipe turns on the lights and you are startled by the paintings on the walls. You smile at some of the quaintness but basically you are very impressed by this local school. There is a pleasant sense of artists having worked closely together." 

Kimbell: Named after Dr. Frederick J. Kimbell who purchased the nearby Three Springs Run in 1866. Here three springs flow and join to form a creek called Silverstream the original name for Kimbell but was later changed to avoid confusion with a Silverstream in Otago. Today there is a country pub, a garage, an art studio and gallery and a few houses. Mount Dobson Ski Area is located northwest 19km from Kimbell and has the highest car park in New Zealand and a haven for keas. This is one of the best privately owned ski fields in New Zealand created more than sixteen years ago by Peter and Shirley Foote and their sons. If you go to the top you can view the cream of the Southern Alps to the west and the highly motivated farming district of Sherwood Downs to the east. Mt Dobson (6864ft, 2092 m) is named after Sir Arthur Dudley Dobson, 1841-1934, an explorer-surveyor, who came to Canterbury in 1850 aboard one of the first ships, the "Cressy" at age nine.  His brother George named "Arthur�s Pass". Arthur was the first European to cross the pass in March 1864. Written in 1998.

Mr Peter Foote, opened the Mt Dobson Ski Area with his family in 1980 after seven years of groundwork.
30 August 2007 : Mount Dobson, New Zealand's largest privately-owned ski field. Peter and the late Shirley Foote developed the field at Fairlie in the 70s and 80s. Yesterday, Mr Foote said as he was approaching retirement age it was time to sell the field. "I think it's time to step aside, while I've got my health, and let someone have a go," he told the Timaru Herald. Mr Foote, a mechanic and skier, started applying for permission to establish a ski field in the 1970s. After four years he started building the road which was completed in 1979. Mr Foote spent 7000 hours on bulldozers and graders. He surveyed and built the 15km road, often living in a caravan on the mountain. "I was a motor mechanic by trade and I wanted to put my skills to use and I was involved with a ski club, Fox Peak, and loved the outdoors. So combining those three things actually inspired me at the time." The field covers 400ha and has a Department of Conservation perpetual lease and concession for the ski field until 2053. The field has three ski lifts.

The scenic SH8 drive is inspiring all seasons with bronze autumn leaves, snow in winter, colourful lupins late in spring and golden tussock in summer.  Watch for the landscape change as you get to the top of the Pass and the first view of  Mt Cook through a saddle to your right and watch for turquoise chilly waters of Lake Tekapo to pop into view.

This mounment is at the top of the pass. Photo taken late 1950s.Burkes Pass: Named after Michael John Burke owner of Raincliff Station who entered the pass in 1855 turned out to be the favorable route for settlers then and today. The altitude at the top of the is 2200'. (829m)  A monument was erected here in 1917 by T.D. Burnett is registered as a category 2. Historic place of historical or cultural heritage significance or value. Once you reach the top of the "long cutting" you enter into the harsh environment of the Mackenzie high country featuring an arid rabbit ravaged landscape dominated by golden tussock, merinos and turquoise lakes. James McKenzie drove sheep over the Mackenzie Pass in 1855 and a monument also marks the approximate spot, is situated about 13 km SW of Burkes Pass. 

Burkes Pass was the first county seat but Fairlie with the railway station terminus became the centre for business in the Mackenzie Co. The Burkes Pass Hotel stood from 1861-1994 until fire destroyed it. The building of 1861, with its twin dormer windows later flanked by wings and with its verandah built-in.  This hotel that was granted the first hotel licence in Canterbury, conditional upon there being maintained four beds for travellers and yards for cattle and sheep.  Its holder, James Noonan, was drowned in the Te Ngawai River only a fortnight before his licence was to take effect.  Almost opposite the hotel stood the County Chambers (1876), built to last but never used as such.  There is also two restored cob cottages here and a pioneer cemetery. Still standing is the tiny St Patrick's Church, built in 1871. In 1992 artist Shirley O'Connor leased the old church and carefully restored the building and turned it into a gallery / craft  shop.  In 2001 the community purchased the church and now it can be used for church or meetings. Below the hotel the highway crosses Paddys Market Creek (1 km NE), a name popularly believed to have its origins in the custom of some early travellers. Those unable to afford to patronise the hotel could set up a "Paddy's Market" by the stream, selling odd possessions to passersby. On the Mackenzie side of the pass is Deadmans Creek (5 km W of the summit), a name attributed to the discovery of a body by its banks, with a faithful dog standing guard. At Whisky Cutting (8 km W of the summit) bullock teams once experienced difficulty in negotiating a steep terrace. On one occasion a large keg of whisky rolled off, shattered and its contents drained away - but as the story runs, not before the drivers, on their hands and knees, had salvaged what they could!

To Put on Record that
Michael John Burke
A graduate of the Dublin University
And the First Occupier of
Raincliff Stn
Entered this Pass known to the 
Maoris as Te Kopi Ophi
In 1855

Oh ye who enter the portals of the 
Mackenzie to found homes, take 
The word of a child of the misty
Gorges and plant forest trees
For your lives.  So shall your 
Mountain facings and river flats
Be preserved to your children's 
Children and for evermore. 

This Pass is 2200 feet
Above Sea Level

Lake Tekapo: Tekapo means 'taka' sleeping mat. and 'po' night.  Located here is the "Church of the Good Shepherd", built in 1935, overlooking the lake.  Nearby is a bronze monument of a collie dog.  The annual Tekapo Fine Wool Sheep Sale is held here.  The 2 tooth and adult sale was held on 27 February 1998 with 14,569 sheep offered and the lamb sale drew a yarding of about 15,800 head made up of mainly wether and ewe lambs.  Night sky.  Mt John University Observatory is located on top of Mt John (1028m) and it is an one hour walk to the top from the town. The town is continuing to grow and caters to the tourist industry.  The canal road is now closed, Jan. 2014.  Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki count for 55% of the country's hydro storage.

The Mackenzie Basin was declared the Southern Hemisphere's only International Dark Sky Reserve in 2013 and attracts tourists from around the world. In 2017 it was one of only 11 of its kind. In 1981 a lighting ordinance was incorporated into the Mackenzie District Plan, which ensures the strict control of light pollution in the area. 

Twizel: "Town of Trees" the hydro town that sprang up on the Mackenzie plain formerly part of Ruataniwha Station created to house workers on the Upper Waitaki Hydro Power Development 1968 - 1986 and continues to thrive due to tourism and is a service town. The layout was based on a Scandinavian concept. Twizel was designed for a peak population was 5800 and there were 1300 sections occupied in 1977. In 1976, 2000 men were working on the $546 million project. After the hydro scheme was completed Twizel was signed over to the Mackenzie District Council in 1984. Population: approximately 1200 in 2016. Nearby Lake Ruataniwha was built as an international rowing course.  The small village of Pukaki and the island that appears on the back of a five pound note were submerged when the waters behind the Pukaki High Dam were raised 37 metres.  2009  "We never thought we would see irrigation of the extent we do now between Twizel and Omarama, but you will find that whenever there's a will, people will find a way. "

Mt Cook: Located in the Mackenzie Country is the 70,000 hectares Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Highway 8 runs along Lake Pukaki passing Rhoborough Downs, Glentanner and Birch Hill stations. Mt Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain at 3724m (GPS 2014) (12,217.8ft). The discrepancy between the old height of 3754m (estimated from aerial photography immediately following a massive rock-ice collapse on December 14, 1991) and the new height of 3724m can be explained by a two-decades long reshaping process affecting the remnant of the originally thick ice cap.  The mountain lost 30 metres in 1991.  25 peaks over 3000m. Mt Tasman, which, at 3497m (11,473.1ft) high, remains New Zealand's second highest mountain. No forest but alpine plants and wildlife and an area of 70,696 hectares. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park Visitor Centre, Bowen Drive, Mt Cook. P.O. Box 5, Mt Cook. Ph. (03) 435-1818 Hours: 8am-5pm, closed Christmas Day only. They have a collection of photographs that relates to early recreation particularly alpinism in the Mt Cook area.  Mt Cook, covered with perpetual snow, is also known as "Aorangi" or cloud-piercer and was named after Capt. James Cook, the explorer.  On March 2nd, 1882, the first ascent of Mt. Cook was made by the Rev. W.S. Green, of the English Alpine Club, accompanied by two Swiss guides, Emil Boss and Ulrish Kaufmann. A recent agreement with the Government placed restrictions on Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park use. Climber must turn back before reaching the summit and all references must place the Maori name before the English one. To the Maori the park represents the most scared of ancestors. Mt Cook and Mt Tasman average two fatalities a year but in the summer of 2003-2004 there were nine deaths. The Alpine Memorial is near the campground in the Hooker Valley.

It is amazing how irrigation has transformed the landscape between Twizel and Omarama a township is situated on empty roads at the junction of State Highway 83 and State Highway 8. A route to Queenstown over the Lindis Pass instead of State Hwy No. 1 down the coast. You can find accommodation here including a local pub, motels, campground and facilities are available for accommodating both people and gliders at the airfield. There are restaurants, take away food outlets, a general store, tourist shops, and two large service stations all operate seven days. Omarama's gliding is renowned. The Nor'wester blows steady and warm off the Alps to form the famous Northwest Arch, a thermal that can take a pilot to 10,000 metres.  SH83 is a good route to Oamaru.  Take a scenic side trip and cross over the Benmore Dam and re-cross again at Aviemore and head towards Kurow  pass the Hay family in January and the old Waitaki twin single lane bridges.  Near Duntroon there are the Elephant Rocks (free to visit) and Maori Rock art and homesteads and Altavady - on the road from Duntroon to Oamaru has a hedge of trees forming its name, that can be seen on Google Earth.

The Clay Cliffs of Omarama (actually layers of gravel and silt) are a spectacular natural example of "badland" erosion are situated on a lowland tussock property l0 km west of Omarama, on the northern side of the Ahuriri River. The Ahuriri River is a major tributary of the Waitaki River, rising deep in the Southern Alps north of Haast Pass. The cliffs can be viewed across the river from the Lindis Pass highway (SH8).  The Clay Cliffs were originally part of some 128,000 hectares of land taken up in 1857 to form Benmore Station, between the Ahuriri and Ohau Rivers and extending to Lake Ohau in the west. The station came to employ 100 men at shearing time with 20 regulars all year, and 100,000 sheep were put up for sale when the property was eventually subdivided by the government in 1916. An 8,484 hectare block incorporating the cliffs was turned into 15 Returned Soldier Settlements, some as small as 180 hectares. The scheme was disastrous both for the land and the new owners, most of whom were forced to walk off within a few years. The Clay Cliffs block was sold in 1919 to Mr W. E. Aubrey, grandfather of the present owner. Successive generations of the Aubrey family have appreciated the historical, scenic and geological values of the Clay Cliffs. In order to ensure that the remarkable landscape feature is preserved for future generations to enjoy, the Aubrey's initiated a Queen Elizabeth II National Trust open space covenant to protect the Clay Cliffs in perpetuity.

Aoraki-Mt Cook to the ocean has that beautiful feeling about it.

Hakataramea: (means dancing speargrass). Was the site of an early ferry crossing the Waitaki to Otago.

Glenavy: originally known as Waitaki North was subdivided in 1881. Located near the Waitaki river crossing.  A legend: The giant native eagle of the Southern Alps, Poukai, is the guardian of the Waitaki river. The eagle was killed by man with its bones shattering to create the region's great rivers and lakes ? Waitaki, Pukaki, and Ohau. His death meant guardianship of the Waitaki was passed to man and today man is challenging the very existence of life-giving. 

 St Matthew's Anglican Church on McClean St, Morven is registered as category 2. Historic place of historical or cultural heritage significance or value.Morven  south of Waimate was created to supply farmers needs when the large sheep run Waikakahi was broken up. Allan McLean was the proprietor of the 47,836 acre station when the station was purchased for closer settlement and subdivided into 140 farms and 14 small grazing runs balloted for on 29th March 1899. Waikakahi, was east and south of Waimate held their centennial in 1999. Their excellent history is entitled 'Waikakahi, Fullfilling the Promise'.  A short history was also published on the Waikakahi district's 50th Jubilee.  Waikakahi means freshwater mussels. St Matthew's Anglican Church on McClean St, Morven was built in 1909, now closed, and was sold but is registered as category 2 with Hertiage NZ. Historic place of historical or cultural heritage significance or value. It was the last wooden church Bishop Julius permitted to be built. Today 2001 a lady uses the Church to display her art.  St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church is at Morven. 

Waimate: Te Waimatemate means sluggish waters, referred to the swamps in the area.  A route through the Waimate Gorge goes to the lakes in the Waitaki Valley.  Settled by Michael Studholme in 1854 when he arrived from Christchurch with his bullock driver Saul Shrives and met with  Maori chief Te Huruhuru at the Point Bush pa. In 1878 the totara forest which had become a base for a booming sawmill industry was destroyed by a disastrous fire along with 70 cottages. The town is located 45 kms south-west of Timaru with a population about 3,000. Churches include the brick Anglican St Patrick's Church near Queen Street and Sacred Heart.  The railway branch, hospital, dairy factory and post office are now closed. The courthouse is now the Waimate Historical Society's museum. The former prime minister, Norman Kirk began his days at Waimate and a beloved physician, Dr Margaret Cruickshank, the first qualified woman to practise medicine in New Zealand, Dr Cruickshank tended countless patients at Waimate during the great influenza epidemic of 1918 before falling to the virus and dying.  A statue of  Dr Cruickshank looks out from Seddon Square. The late Austin Sargent was a long-time Waimate Advertiser editor.  The White Horse monument overlooks the town from the hills where wallabies abound, after the release last century, about 1874, of two does and a buck by settlers and are now a pest. The Waimate District Council will be in charge of the Waimate and Otaio cemeteries. Pop. 2,000  2001.  Population 1 April, 1957: 3,160  Bush The Secret Garden, Waimate  is one of South Canterbury's oldest homes, it was built in the late 1860s and belonged to one of the first families to farm the area. The big old homestead has large rooms and 12ft studs. Waimate owes its origin to the sawmill industry of the Waimate bush. 1910  youtube  Waimate is pronounced Wai mah te. Heritage and historic walk

Language is a living tool that usually connects people, geographic locale & culture, and carries through the years. It has depth, purpose & connection.

The Timaru Herald Thursday May 5 1881page 2
Population of Waimate
The census returns for the district of Waimate show the population to be
Borough of Waimate: Males 875, females 734, total 1609
Riding of Deep Creek: Males 887, females 701, total 1588 or a grand total for the district of 3197
The census of 1878 gave the total for the district as 2478 so the present returns show an increase in the population.

Mayors of Waimate Borough
1879 - John Manchester
1881 - Matthew Sherwin
1882-3  Samuel W. Goldsmith
1884-5- Charles V. Clarke
1886 - James Sinclair
1887-88 Frank Slee
1889-90 James Sinclair
1891-93  George Henry Graham
1893-94  William Coltman
1895- Charles V. Clarke
1896-7 Robert Nieal
1898-1900 Robert C. Barclay
1901-07 John Manchester
1908-11 Norton Francis
1912-14 John Black
1915-16  Norton Francis
1917-18 George Dash
1919-20 William F. Evans
1921-22 Frederick Nash
1922-24  William F. Evans
1925-29  George Dash

Local family has long association with Waimate timber industry

Otaio. In Waimate Co. Pop: 115 (c). Telephone office. Sheep raising. Railway Station. 114 miles from Christchurch, 14 miles from Timaru. Altitude 24ft. The section of railway between St. Andrews and Otaio was opened for traffic 1st Sept. 1876. Wises "New Zealand Guide" (pub 1952). The Otaio Cemetery, just south of St Andrews village.

 St Andrews is a village located on the main highway south of Timaru.  In 1876 the railway reached this community and a post office was established in 1880. A telegraph office was added to the Post Office. St Andrews Parish St  Presbytery of South Canterbury records are held at the South Canterbury Museum. St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church is at Makikihi.

Esk Valley sometimes called Upper Otaio. Located on Ryan's Road about 15 miles (24 km) south of from Timaru and half way  between St Andrews,  which is on the main highway south, and Blue Cliffs Station.  St Mary's Anglican Church, (5 miles from St Andrews) is a lovely limestone church, smallish with some very fine and beautiful stained glass memorial windows. There are windows given in memory of Charles Meyer, Robert Heaton Rhodes (a later owner of Blue Cliffs) and his wife.  The church was built in 1879 by the late Charles Meyer, the original owner of Bluecliff Station in memory of his wife, Jessy, and according to her wish.  Mr Meyer presented the church and five acres of land to the Otaio parish. Consecrated in 1880, and is still in use with a service once a month.  Situated on a ridge between the Otaio and Esk Valleys, you can see the sea from the grounds.  The site was chosen so that the church could be seen from the homestead at Blue Cliffs on Back Line Road. In the lovely grounds is a pioneer churchyard cemetery.  The Hewson family who farmed there for many years donated ground for the Esk Valley School, which closed down many years ago. Blue Cliffs Station homestead, stables, generator shed, and the meat house/dairy are all registered with the Heritage NZ as category 2. Historic place of historical or cultural heritage significance or value.

Lyalldale is 12 miles south of Timaru, and about two miles west, inland, of St Andrews. Started life in the 1850s as a sheep station, owned by James Innes.  He sold the western half of his original holding to Edward Elworthy.  The eastern end he sold to the New Zealand & Australian Land Company, a Scottish company, a few months later. This land was developed by the company into a very productive farming area, sheep, and thousands of acres of wheat, with smaller areas of barley, and oats for the horses.  During their thirty plus years of ownership, the Company sold off areas to settler farmers, and set aside areas for the St Andrews village, churches etc. By the 1890s the clamour from the growing population for land was becoming insistent, and this led to the government of the day passing legislation to enable them to compulsory purchase the big stations, and break them up into smaller farms. And so it was for Lyalldale. The remnants of the Pareora Estate owned by the NZALCo. was bought by the Government in 1899, and a few months later was offered for ballot. Thirty-two people were successful, and the district went ahead in leaps and bounds. The name Lyalldale was chosen to honour the last manager of the Estate, George Lyall - the Dale of Lyall -. The district has had its ups and downs, mainly due to flood and more often drought. Amalgamation of farms to achieve better economy has seen the number of farms dwindle down to eleven now, so there is a certain irony that 101 yrs after the closer settlement, the trend is swinging back toward the status at the beginning! 'Lyalldale, A Vision Realized' by John Button was published in time for the district's centennial has some wonderful photos of the area. Mr. Button also wrote an excellent social history of Southburn, 'South of the Burn'  the next door district, and also part of the original Estate, held their centennial in 1995. Information courtesy of John Williams [District farmer & Chairman of the Lyalldale Historical Group]. Posted 6 September 2001.

Pareora: Farming locality near the coast just north of the mouth of the Pareora River, Timaru District, just off S.H. No 1, 6km north-east of St Andrews, 14km south from Timaru, 36km north-east of Waimate. School. Sheep-farming. In 1903 The Pareora Freezing Works opened at Pareora.

Pareora West: Farming locality on the banks of the Pig Hunting Creek, on the coastal plain to the north of the lower Pareora River, Timaru District, 13km north-west of Pareora, 16km south-west of Timaru.

Temuka: Located 19km north of Timaru. 11 miles n. of Timaru and 89 miles s. of Christchurch on State Highway 1 surrounded by a dairy farming community.  The first butter factory was opened in 1883. Arowhenua is a Maori community 1 km south of the town across the Opihi river and is the pa site of the Ngai Tahu people. Their earth ovens, te uma kaha or "fierce strong ovens" for cooking cabbage trees gave Temuka its name.  In 1853 William Hornbrook settled on his run Arowhenua on the south bank of the Temuka river and a year later his wife arrived to be the first female Pakeha in South Canterbury. In the 74ha Temuka Domain there is the war memorial and a monument listing the early settlers in the district and old trees and beautiful gardens.  Brickyards have been in the area since 1878 producing pipes to drain swamps and tiles, layer New Zealand Insulators began operating in the 1918 and today a branch Temuka Potteries has an store opposite the sale yards that sells earthenware.  Salmon fishing is popular at the mouths of the Opihi and Rangitata Rivers. Population 1 April, 1957: 2,260  

King Street, Temuka, Saturday 12th May 2007 on a beautiful autumn day. Shows town clock and Temuka mascot, the magpie. Many local boys have played rugby for the Temuka Magpies.  Temuka - large images Jan. 2008: Takeaways, Temuka Boxing Club, Farmers Gain Storage Building, Bee Hive Stores Building 1901

Otago Witness 5 June 1905
Some interesting relics in the shape of Maori weapons, to the number of half a dozen, have recently been obtained by Mr Oldfield, of Temuka, during a ploughing of a paddock near the coast at Seadown. The spot at which the greenstone meres and adzes were obtained is in a gully to the south of the Opihi mouth. The Natives of the North Island attacked those at Arowhenua, and a fierce battle was fought in the bush which extended upwards from the river mouth. In this battle the southern Maoris were defeated, and having sent their women and children up the Rangitara gorge they retreated before the invaders, but were overtaken at Peel Forest. The spot, marked by an immense tree, is shown at the present day, where the southern chief and his braves were annihilated after a gallant stand.

Press, 17 March 1911, Page 9
Development of Temuka. Among the storekeepers were Messrs Mendleson and Morris, who had already started at Pleasant Valley. J. W. Volvin, A. Wilson, sen., and for a few years before taking up farming pursuits, Mr J. B. Wareing was in business in Temuka. Mr J. Blyth settled down in Temuka as a builder after a trip to-the diggings, and Mr E Brown opened a timber yard. Mr E. H. Bremer attended to the wants of settlers in the way saddlery, and docs so to this day. Messrs Ackroyd, E. Lee, and E. Pilbrow, opened butchery businesses; Mr C. J. Raynor was the first chemist and druggist, Mr J. B. Birley the first aerated water manufacturer. Messrs Calch, Maslin, and Copestake were among the earliest carpenters aim builders, and Dr. T. O. Raynor the first medical man, and for many years he took :v prominent part in public affairs The brewery near the Temuka Bridge, now known as "The Old Brewery," was started by Messrs Forward, Williams, and 0. H. Thompson, in the sixties, with Mr A. Metcalfe. as brewer. Mr Thompson, who was in partnership with Mr Geo. Levens, was afterwards better known in connection with livery stables. Messrs Marshall and Donnellv were the first bakers in Temuka. Westward of Temuka is the farming district of Waitohi Flat, among the early settlers on which were Messrs J. Talbot, W. Wright, S. Currie, McCullough and M. Moore. The Arowhenua station afterwards came into the hands of the New. Zealand and Australian Land Company, and some years ago was bought by the Government for closer settlement.

In 1899 Temuka was constituted a borough. Previously it was a town district, and adjoining it was the town district of Arowhenua. In the formation of these town districts and their subsequent union. Mr J. Blyth, who had been a member of both Boards, took a prominent part. In 1909 the population of Temuka was 1680. That the township is now enjoying an era of prosperity and steadily gaining is evidenced by the fact that there are no empty houses, but a keen demand for them, and a number of new buildings are in course of erection. The first Mayor of the borough -wag Mr J. T. M. Hayhurst, who held office from 1899 to 1903, Mr T. Buxton followed from 1903 to 1907, and from 1908 to 1911; Mr D. McInnes occupying the mayoral chair from 1907 to 190 S. Mr Buxton also has the honour of representing the district in Parliament. The Town Clerk is Mr Edward Cutten. For a township oft the size, Temuka is well-served in every way. It is on the main line if railway, and only twelve miles from the seaport of Timaru. Its main business street has been practically rebuilt of late years, and now possesses two lines of shops, hotels, banks, etc., and a handsome post office, such as few country townships can boast of. The main, business part has an underground system of drainage, and the drains and side-channels are flushed by a water supply brought in from the Winchester creek. There is a good volunteer fire brigade, and now it is proposed to go in for a loan for a high-pressure water supply for fire prevention and other purposes. The main streets are lighted by gas provided by a private company. Temuka is also well-served in the way of means of recreation. Few districts provide such splendid roads for pleasure drives, in any direction; there is a domain of 133 acre for public gardens and recreation grounds, and the Arowhenua Domain of 11 acres. The Temuka Domain is well laid out with shady walks through extensive plantations, and there are cricket and football grounds, cycling track, lawn tennis courts, and bowling green, and the local club also has golf links. Temuka is evidently growing in popularity as a residential area, which naturally adds to its business opportunities. There have been many handsome residences erected of late" years, and a number of retired farmers, are making their homes there. The climate is remarkably mild and bracing, without the extremes of either heat and cold. The district is so well planted with trees that it suffers little from winds. The various religious denominations have substantial churches, several of which have been rebuilt of into years; The Roman Catholic Church is a prominent landmark in the township. Temuka also possesses a very fine public school. A volunteer corps has been maintained since 1868, and of the original members Lieut. Findlay and Colour-Sergeants Levens and Coira still reside in Temuka.

Outside the borough of Temuka the district is under the control of the Geraldine County Council, and more immediately by the Temuka Road Board. The road district comprises some 70,000 acres, running as far east as the Rangitata River. To the west it takes in the Waitohi flat, its northern boundary being the Geraldine Road District, and its south to Opihi River. It was formed in 1872, having originally been part of the Geraldine Road District. The chairmen of the Board have been Dr. T. O. Raynor, and Messrs R. Wood, R. A. Barker, S. Currie, J. Fraser and W. J. Talbot, the latter for a long time, up to the present day. The roads throughout the district are a credit to the controlling Inklies. The Temuka and Opihi rivers, which in the early days were so difficult to negotiate, have long since been spanned by bridges, and the old timber bridge over the Opihi has recently been replaced by a substantial ferro-concrete structure.

Press, 13 September 1922, Page 3
Speaking at Timaru on Monday last, Mr William Raymond made a forecast which will cause direfully warm feelings in Temuka and Christchurch. He said "Temuka will one day be a suburb of Timaru. There will be a line of houses on either side of the road connecting the two places; the industrial centre will be Washdyke and the residential part Gleniti, Timaru has a great future, and it will not be very many years before it will rival Christchurch." All this may prove true, but it is dead against the cherished convictions of every loyal Temukaite who declares "Washdyke is my washpot and Timaru is its suburb."

The old Temuka Library - designed by architects: J.S. Turnbull & P.W. Rule.

Timaru Herald, 27 August 1915, Page 9 Milford Notes
THE NEW LIBRARY. The new library is now in use and is greatly admired. Though only 21ft x 15ft. it looks quite pretentious, the balance and finish giving it a compactness and completeness, scarcely expected from such a comparatively small structure. The walls are of Pallisers patent building blocks, with a three-inch continuous cavity. The three bottom courses are rock-faced stone, finished with a plain string course at window-sill level, and finished above with rough-cast, tinted cream. The colour contrast is given with red roof and red cement band in gables. The inside is finished with plaster. The roof is lined inside with all timbers showing, and these are dressed and oiled. The windows are in the latest casement style. The whole construction is of concrete including chimney and chimney pot and reflects credit on the builders and designers, Messrs Palliser and Sons, Timaru.

Winchester: Four miles north of Temuka. 15 miles n. of Timaru, on the Waihi River surrounded by a fertile farming district. The war memorial is at the intersection of State Hwy 1.

Press, 17 March 1911, Page 9
The pretty little village of Winchester, formerly known as the Waihi crossing, is about five miles north of Temuka on the main road and railway, and is still a popular resort of anglers. It has undergone hut few changes for a good many years, beyond the erection of a few more dwellings. As has been noted, Mr J. A. Young was an early resident, and was until his death one of its best-known inhabitants. For many years Mr Geo. Taylor's store was a well-known business place, and Mr In wood's flour mill on the creek was am equally well-known and useful adjunct to settlement. Near by is the well known farm of Mr W. De Renzie, owned by Lord Lyttelton, which before Mr De Renzie's time was occupied by Mr A. Wilson, sen., and Mr James Roberts. The Smithfield Estate, owned by Mr Robert Smith, is in the same locality, and Mr H. S. Smith still carries on the wool scouring business in Winchester with which the two brothers have long been associated.

Temuka Leader 20 January 1925 Page 2 WINCHESTER. (From the "Temuka Leader," Jan. 17th, 1882.)
Mr Taylor has been from the first in the township, and Messrs Benshin and Gimpson lately succeeded Mr A. Dale. Messrs Smith and Northam established a large establishment for so young a place in the blacksmith and wheelwright line. After a time, Mr Northam succeeded to the business, and is now carrying on a very large business. A patent screw-making machine is worth a visit, as is a boring and punching machine, with a turning lathe of great power. Altogether, this establishment, from the number of hands employed, and the central position of Winchester as an agricultural district, ought to make the business a paying one.
    Mr H. Smith's wool scouring establishment is well situated, and does a good business. We learn that Mr Smith employs eight hands and turns out about 100 bales of scoured wool a month.
    Mr Klee, shoemaker, has long been a settler and has a very tastefully laid out orchard well-kept.
    Mr Young has a livery stables, and Mr Geo. Taylor also owns a livery stable. A baker and butcher's shop with a boarding house, completes the whole of the trades and institutions, but this does not complete our report of Winchester. In addition to the above, there are two coaches, which run three times a day between Winchester and Geraldine. There is a mail twice a day from Timaru and Christchurch; and just now is about to be opened a telegraph station and office. A monthly fair, long established by Mr Young, has become a valuable Institution. Farmers and stock owners come from a great distance, and stock is offered for sale in the fair in the first instance, and then if not disposed of is sold by auction. The fair is now largely attended, and the number of stock bought and sold is much on the increase. The railway station is on the outside of the township, and in the grain season considerable business is done.

Clandeboye : James Logan came out to NZ with his brother Arthur Logan, and settled in the Rangitata River area.  Their home town in Belfast Ireland had been called Clandeboye. Former name for Clandeboye was Bulmers. There has been and upswing in dairy farming in the  Geraldine - Temuka area since the 2001 expansion of the nearby multi-million dollar milk powder plant. The Clandeboye factoryowned by Fonterra has the ability to process 14 tonnes of milk powder per hour.  During the Y2K season the dairy factory processed a billion litres in one season for the first time. 13 million litres of milk a day is expected to be processed at Clandeboye during the peak flow. Clandeboye usually handles eight million litres a day. The factory at Clandeboye,  is the second largest cheese manufacturing complex in New Zealand.

Rangitata Island : Situated between the two bridges of the Rangitata River on State Highway One, about 30km SW of Ashburton, and as you drive through you wouldn't actually realise it was an island as such but if you look on a map it becomes quite apparent. It's size is about 12,000 acres. From the one of the Rangitata Island School Centennial booklets. The land at Rangitata Island was originally part of the Orari Station. The first family farming on the Island were people by the name of Buxton. They were soon joined by the Kennedys, the Pages and Ruddenklau's. Other early families were the Freemans, the Wrights, the Bucks, the Graingers and the Watts as well as the Millers, Hearns and Brodies.  The Rangitata Island school was opened on the 21 January 1878 and it finally closed on 18 Dec.1987?. There was a Roll of Honour at the school for WW 1. The WW2 one hangs in the hall. In the early days many people were buried at Temuka. 

Orari: A tiny settlement 9km south-east of Geraldine. You can turn off the main highway here and head towards Fairlie. Here you find the magnificent gardens of Orari Estate on the Main South Rd still owned by one of the original Macdonald descendants since 1853. Busloads of tourists stop to admire the grounds, and swans on the lake, a homestead built in 1912, with trees planted back in the 1850s, a pear orchard, nut walk, and original main lawn. Two creeks flow through the property, one dammed to create a pond. Daily, by appointment. All year. Nearby is the Geraldine Trotting Club's grass course at Orari. The course was deemed uneconomic and the races shifted elsewhere. There use to be a railway station here.

Geraldine: Named after James Edward Fitzgerald. Geraldine was the family name of the FitzGeralds by which they were known in Ireland, became a town district on 20 June, 1884 and was governed by a Town Board.  Proclaimed a borough in 1905 with the motto "The future in our hands".  The Geraldine Borough Council went out of existence on 31 October 1989 when it became part of the amalgamation of local bodies to form the Timaru District Council.  Raukapuka did not officially become part of the Geraldine borough until 1953. The Geraldine Borough Council went out of existence on 31 October 1989 when it became part of the amalgamation of local bodies to form the Timaru District Council.
Geraldine: the stop along the route. Part of a thesis on tourism in small towns. AwaWhenua Museum is located at the back of the giftware store Joosh, 14 Talbot Street, Geraldine

Cox Street, Geraldine. Saturday 12 May 2007.

Geraldine a quaint town on the Waihi River is located 36 km north-west of Timaru ( or 86 miles south-west of Christchurch), with a population of 2500 many retired from farming, artisans, and those seeking a move away from the rat race, has its stock and station stores that supports the farming community and is frequently visited by tourists buses around lunch time.  Shops. Good buys can be found at stores like Barkers Berry Barn, Talbot Street, near Pynes Gould Guinness, Talbot Forest Cheese, which sells food products and The Giant Jersey, 10 Wilson Street, which sells hats, scarves and jerseys made locally from wool. Population 1 April, 1957: 1,680.  The  Geraldine borough merged with the Timaru borough in 1989.  The river garden walkway starts at the footbridge at Wilson Street passes the War memorial and runs up to the main road bridge following the Waihi River on the town side.  It is an easy grade of 500metres length constructed in 2003 and is run by volunteers, with donations of plants e.g. beautiful Rhododendrons, Camellias and Azaleas and money from the local community. Best in October. The Domain on Cox street has a  lovely rose gardens best viewed end of November. Up Totara street you can walk through Talbot Forest - listen to the bellbirds and fantails and see the native wood pigeons. 

2005: "However, the change in the Geraldine township from a well established borough to a tourist mecca is the greatest change we have been asked to accept since the introduction of acetylene lamps and the motorcar, said Mrs Eulla Williamson, former mayor of Geraldine.  Mrs Williamson has lived in Geraldine for much of her life and has written five books on the history of the town.  Geraldine has become very touristy with over a hundred buses a week, passing through the town now! A haircut at the barber shop closed in 1926 and reopened as is, is well worth it! The old post office has been saved and is now an arts and crafts shop. The stained glass windows at St Mary's are exceptional. Museum. 1900  wm gibb

The museum was previously the Town Board Office. It was shifted block by block from an adjacent site in 1974, to where it is today. Geraldine will mark 150 years since the naming of Geraldine starting on May 6, 2007. A photographic exhibition of the town's past will be held at St Andrews Hall with 750 photos. There would also be patchwork displays, a fashion parade, and old time movies. The Geraldine Players would be performing and there would be historic tours. A street parade on Saturday and an aftermatch function and a ball in the evening. A church service was planned for the final Sunday. Organised by the Geraldine Historical Society.

Origins of Geraldine
Message No 8, laid on the Table of to the Canterbury Provincial Council, on 29 April 1857 intended to set aside 320 acres as a Town Reserve at Talbot Forest as the area was then known. The are reserved for the town consisted largely of flax swamp and manuka. In the "Lyttelton Times" of 2 May 1857 the following appeared: "There is a town site reserved at Talbot Forest which wants a name. The Provincial Council is asked to give it one. No doubt they will take the name of some person prominent in its own little history." The proposed town, however, was not to be called Raukapuka, the native name of the bush, or Talbot, the people's choice. At the assembly of the Provincial Council on 6 May 1857 motion was proposed "That His Honour the Superintendent be respectfully requested to make the following Reserve, viz., 320 acres for a town to be called ----" There upon followed a series of motions for the filling up of the blank, the following names being proposed and rejected in the order given: Godley Town, 3 votes for, 12 against, Killigar; 5 for 11 against: FitzGerald; 14 for 2 against. On the motion being put to fill the blank with FitzGerald, an amendment was proposed to strike out FitzGerald, and substitute Leinster. This was rejected 4 votes to 12, motion to reconsider FitzGerald likewise rejected by 5 to 11. At the Provincial Council meeting of 8 May 1857 the name was changed from FitzGerald to Geraldine - that being the family name of the FitzGeralds by which they were known in Ireland, and adopted by resolution. Geraldine was surveyed into town sections in February 1864, with further surveys taking place in May 1874, December 1881 and April 1883.

James Edward Fitzgerald, after whom the town is named, was born in Bath, Somerset and educated at Christ's College, Cambridge. He acted as immigration office for the Canterbury Association's efforts to settle Canterbury and arrived in Lyttelton on the "Charlotte Jane", one of the first four ships, in December 1850. A journalist, he established and edited the "Lyttelton Times" for 2 years and subsequently in 1860 founded and became editor of "The Press". Fitzgerald was elected the first Superintendent of province of Canterbury in 1853, an office he held until 1857. When the act constituting the Geraldine Assembly of New Zealand was passed, Mr Fitzgerald occupied a seat in the first Parliament and had the honour of being the first premier of the colony. He died in Wellington on 2nd August 1896.

As the bush was cut out the timber workers turned to farming, and as the vast outlying leasehold runs were slowly fragmented by the Government, Geraldine changed in character from a bush settlement to a servicing centre for local farms. Developed from farming and sawmilling in the 1880s and there is still native bush at Peel Forest which is nineteen km north of Geraldine.  The road that leads past Mt Peel Station continues to Mesopotamia Station, (69km from Geraldine) once the run of the English writer Samuel Butler in the 1860s.  Butler's Saddle on the Two Thumb Range and Butler's Road, Sherwood Downs are named for him.  Sherwood Downs and Mesopotamia stations shared a common boundary.  He wrote Erewhon, London, 1872 and A First Year in Canterbury Settlement, London, 1883. 

Talbot Forest map April 2016


Category C items are not protected by Heritage New Zealand. It is becoming more difficult to preserve older buildings in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes, where the seismic strength of buildings is now the first priority. Older buildings tend to be inefficient in terms of heating costs and layout which makes it more difficult to achieve long term occupancy.

NASA photos

Today 2001 there is no official statistical region as "South Canterbury", just Canterbury - made up of the districts Kaikoura, Hurunui, Waimakariri, Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, Selwyn, Timaru, Ashburton, Mackenzie, Waitaki and Waimate. Timaru district geographically is from Pareora in the south to Cricklewood to the Rangitata River. It also includes Ben McLeod. The provisional population Timaru district from the 2001 census is 42,063. The Canterbury region's population is 491,565. For more information see   

If you know the origins of the communities in South Canterbury please let me know and I will post the information so we can have a complete listing to share with the local and genealogical communities. Photographs 1999 - 2002

Small town feel Geraldine used to be no different than Temuka, Pleasant Point, Waimate, or wherever. It was a typical New Zealand market town serving a rural community. In just a generation there has been a remaking of the countryside, particularly in the South Island. In the 1980s, rural towns were really all much the same. A monoculture. The location would be different, but there would be the same old pub, garage, primary, Four Square, war memorial hall, domain and tin-roof church. Towns had no brands, no distinctive reason for being, apart from acting as a service centre to the local farming community.

What keeps these small towns thriving? It is community and social capital. Locals look out for each other in ways you don't expect. They are protective of their towns. They pick up litter on the side of the road with out being asked. The people are part of a thriving town that likes to keep busy. Community involvement and community groups thrive. People do things. People volunteer. They organise. They support community theatre and church and schools...

From Geraldine, fresh snow on Tripp Peak at 1,653m. the fourth peak in Four Peaks, Sunday morning 4 June 2017 and a quail on top of the tree to the far right.


Left to right: Devils Peak 1,587 m (5206ft)
Fiery Peak  1,525 m (5003ft) - rocks on top
Waihi Peak 1,478 m (4849ft) - the smallest of the four peaks
Tripp's Peak 1,653 m (5423ft) at the back of Blue Mountain station.
Blue Mountain the large round top to the right stretching for three miles, is covered with rock, snow grass and with snow during the winter months.
The two of the lesser hills between Waihi Peak and Tripp Peak are called Mt Edith and Mt Catherine after Tripp family members.



  The Fairlie Basin, October 2004. Photos taken by Winsome Griffin from Mt. Michael.

"The small town has changed so little over the years." "Towns like Fairlie and Geraldine are special. They have got good people, a good climate and it's a great community."

The "small town effect" - I find it easier to say I am from Timaru somewhere that people had heard of and not Sherwood Downs or Fairlie. 

Maoris first settled the area and there is only one Maori community left in the region and that is at Arowhenua, which is located 1 km south of Temuka.  Timaru, which means "Place of Shelter" for Maori travellers canoeing along the coastline was a whaling station in the 1830s.  The Rhodes brothers from Yorkshire, England established the Levels sheep run in 1850, the Hornbrook brothers took up Arowhenua in 1853, Michael Studholme in 1854 established in the Waimate area.  John Acland and Charles Tripp established Mt Peel in 1856. 

 Mackenzie Webcams
 Canterbury is One Hundred - a short two part documentary film. CHCH collection.

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