Invercargill / Waihopai
Invercargill sits at the foot of the South Island and since its inception was developed as a service centre to what became a flourishing farming community. The first Europeans to set foot on the South Island's southern coast were sealers in the late 1700s. Others intent on harvesting flax came in the early 1800s and whalers began arriving from 1829. Sailors, traders, and entrepreneurs followed.
Māori were attracted to Bluff, at the Southern-most point of New Zealand, 600 years earlier because of bountiful supply of fish and birds. They became exceptional crafters of stone tools, supplying them to Māori throughout the country. Each Māori settlement throughout the region had its own name and much of the region we now call Southland, is referred to by Māori as Murihiku.
In 1856 a petition was presented to the Governor of New Zealand, for a port at Bluff. The Governor consented and at the same time suggested a corresponding township be called Invercargill. He wanted to pay tribute to William Cargill, a high profile Scottish pioneer involved in the administration and settlement of the Otago/Southland region. The city's cultural links with Scotland are reflected by many of the main streets, which are named after Scottish rivers.
Bluff is important to Invercargill because it houses the city's port and fishing industry. The township is also the gateway to New Zealand's third island, Stewart Island, 85 percent of which is part of Rakiura National Park and is home to the kiwi and other native birds. The iconic Bluff signpost is just outside town at Stirling Point: it and the views from Bluff Hill are magnets for tourists.
Agriculture and horticulture make up a large part of Southland's economy and Southland also has a strong manufacturing base with Tiwai Aluminium Smelter contributing to 18 percent of Southland's Gross Domestic Product.
Southland's backyard consists of luscious green fields and clean coastal waters, an area that produces some of the finest quality food for the domestic and overseas markets. From the internationally renowned Bluff oysters, to glorious rock lobsters, paua, bluecod and salmon. Southland is a seafood lover's delight!
Almost 93,000 people live in the Southland region, with over 50 percent of these in the city of Invercargill (51,600). This makes Southland the eleventh largest region in New Zealand. However with around 12 percent of the country's total land mass, it is one of the least densely populated areas.
Southland's weather is nothing if not variable and it is often said that one can experience four seasons in one day. Typical summer daytime maximum air temperatures range from 16°C to 23°C, occasionally rising above 30°C. Snow falls infrequently in winter but frosts are common, especially in inland areas. Typical winter daytime maximum air temperatures range from 8°C to 12°C. On average there are about 1,600 hours of bright sunshine annually.
- New Plymouth
- Palmerston North
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