Main Births etc

Timaru is located in New Zealand
Urban Area
Population: 27,200
Extent: Former Timaru City Council
Territorial Authority
Name: Timaru District Council
Population: 42,867 (2006 census)
Land area: 2,736.54 km² (1,056.58 sq mi)
Mayor: Janie Annear
Extent: Rangitata River to Pareora River, Pacific Ocean to Mackenzie District, including Rangitata Gorge
Regional council
Name: Canterbury Regional Council

Timaru (Maori: Te Tihi-o-Maru) is a major port in the southern Canterbury region of New Zealand, located 160 kilometres southwest of Christchurch and about 200 kilometres northeast of Dunedin on the eastern Pacific coast of the South Island. The Timaru District, a territorial authority of 42,867 people (2006 census) in and around the former Timaru City (27,200), includes a prosperous agricultural hinterland with links to smaller rural communities such as Pleasant Point (1,170), Temuka (4,044), and Geraldine (2,244). The town of Waimate is about 40 kilometres to the south just off the main highway to Oamaru and Dunedin. The Timaru urban area is the second largest city in the Canterbury Region, after Christchurch.

Caroline Bay beach is a popular recreational area located close to Timaru's town centre, just to the north of the substantial port facilities. Beyond Caroline Bay, the industrial suburb of Washdyke is at a major junction with State Highway 8, the main route into the Mackenzie Country. This provides a road link to Fairlie, Twizel, Lake Tekapo, Aoraki/Mount Cook and Queenstown.

Timaru has been constructed on rolling hills created from the lava flows of the extinct Mt Horrible volcano, which last erupted many thousands of years ago. The result is that most of the main streets are undulating, a clear contrast with the flat landscape of the Canterbury Plains to the north. This volcanic rock is used for the construction of local "bluestone" buildings.

Timaru district settlements[]

  • Pleasant Point
  • Temuka
  • Cave
  • Geraldine
  • Orari
  • Pareora


Early settlement[]

The origin of the name 'Timaru' is disputed . Some believe that it derives from Māori Te Maru, which can mean a 'place of shelter'. However, other authorities allege that Timaru originates from a literal translation of the combination of ti, a cabbage tree and maru, meaning 'shady'. Timaru is pronounced /ˈtɪmər/TI-mə-roo.

Māori canoes seem to have employed the site of Timaru as a place to rest on long journeys up and down the eastern coastline for many years before the arrival of the first Europeans in the 19th century. The area includes over 500 sites with traces of Māori rock art, particularly in the rock overhangs and caves of the Opuha and Opihi river valleys, to the west of modern day Timaru. Archaeologists have suggested that Māori tribes were permanently settled in the district before 1400 AD. During the 17th or 18th century the resident Ngāti Mamoe were driven southwards into Fiordland by an invasion of the Ngāi Tahu, who came from the North Island.

19th century European settlement[]

Sacred Heart Church (Timaru Basilica)

European settlement began with the construction of a whaling station in 1839 by the Weller brothers of Otago at Patiti Point, close to the present town centre.[1] A supply ship, The Caroline, provided the name for a local bay. Later a sheep station, known as The Levels, was created on land purchased by the Rhodes brothers. Few lived in Timaru until 1859 when the ship SS Strathallan arrived from England, carrying a party of 120 immigrants. Persistent land disputes arose between the brothers and local government officials with the result that two townships were established in the port area, Government Town and Rhodestown. These eventually merged into a single community in 1868. Given this division, until recently none of the main north-south streets lined up. Stafford Street, which became the main thoroughfare, was formed along the early bullock wagon trail.

Following the loss of a number of vessels off the coast, work started on the redevelopment of the artificial port in 1877, which eventually caused sand washed south down the Pacific shoreline to build up against the northern mole. This was the beginning of the extensive land reclamation around the Caroline Bay district, an area which is still growing today.

20th century development[]

Timaru continued to expand during the 20th century, with much of the development taking the form of wooden colonial style bungalows set in individual sections of land.

21st century[]

In 2012 Environment Canterbury reported a "nuisance odour" had been plaguing the town for several months, and they have thus far been unable to trace it back to its source. It's hoped new computer software will help.[2]



Timaru has a dry temperate climate similar to that of neighbouring Ashburton and Christchurch. Temperatures are warm in summer and cold in winter, with Timaru's extreme maximum temperature being 41.3°C on 6 February 2011[3] and extreme minimum temperature of -9.1°C on 3 August 1998.[4] Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year, with a very small proportion of it falling as snow.

Climate data for Timaru
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 21.1
Average low °C (°F) 11.3
Precipitation mm (inches) 46
Source: NIWA Climate Data[5]


Timaru Council Building

The mayor of Timaru is Janie Annear.

Timaru is part of the parliamentary electorate of Rangitata, represented by Jo Goodhew of the New Zealand National Party.


Timaru is an agricultural service town and port for the South Canterbury regional economy.[6] Timaru is one of the major cargo ports of the South Island, with a number of light manufacturing plants associated with the export and import trade. Many of these producers are concerned with processing, packing, and distributing meat, dairy and other agricultural produce.

Timaru is the second largest fishing port in New Zealand.

Allan Hubbard the chartered accountant and philanthropist established the failed finance company South Canterbury Finance and accounting firm Hubbard Churcher in Timaru and lived locally until his death in a car accident on 2 September 2011.[7]


Timaru is located on State Highway One (SH1), the main road route down the eastern coast of the South Island.

There are regular coach and minibus services to Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and the Mackenzie Country, leaving from outside the Visitor Information Centre, which provides booking facilities and other travel services.

The Main South Line section of the South Island Main Trunk Railway runs through Timaru and is a significant freight corridor. Passenger rail services were discontinued after the cancellation of the Southerner in February 2002. Between 1949 and 1970, Timaru was serviced by the South Island Limited, one of the former New Zealand Railways Department's most prestigious trains.

Richard Pearse Airport is located to the north of the town. It is equipped to handle light aircraft and short haul domestic flights, with regular services to Wellington.

A number of bus services connect Timaru's suburbs to the town centre.


Further information: List of schools in Canterbury, New Zealand

  • Pre-school
  • Primary Schools
    • Barton Rural (previously Fairview)
    • Beaconsfield (previously Pareora West )
    • Bluestone (previously West School)
    • Gleniti
    • Grantlea Downs (previously Grantlea )
    • Highfield
    • Oceanview Heights (previously Marchwiel School)
    • Sacred Heart Primary
    • St. Josephs School
    • Timaru Christian
    • Timaru South School
    • Waimataitai
  • Secondary Schools
    • Timaru Boys' High School
    • Timaru Girls' High School
    • Roncalli College
    • Craighead Diocesan School
    • Mountainview High School
    • Aoraki Alternative Education Center
  • Higher Education
    • Aoraki Polytechnic

There are a number of primary schools including Timaru South School which has two campuses, one in Timaru and the other in Pareora 12 km away. Timaru also has many nurseries and Plunket rooms.


Retailing is concentrated around the Stafford Street area. In addition there are a number of local shopping malls distributed around the town, with extensive parking facilities.

Timaru has a branch of The Warehouse, a major national retailer. Ballantynes is a large department store in the city centre.

Tourist attractions[]

South Canterbury Museum

The South Canterbury Museum is the main museum for the region, containing exhibits relating to physical geography and the environment, fossil remains, Māori rock art, the early settlement of the district, local maritime history, scrimshaw, the E P Seally natural history collection, and information about Richard Pearse, a local inventor and his attempts at manned flight in the first years of the 20th century.

The Aigantighe (a Scots Gaelic word pronounced "egg and tie") Art Gallery in Wai-iti Road is the South Island’s third largest art museum. It holds a collection of New Zealand, Pacific, Asian and European art works from the sixteenth century to the present day and includes a sculpture garden. The gallery was founded in 1956 and is housed in a homestead built in 1908.

Timaru has with a number of open spaces, public gardens and parks. The Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden at Caroline Bay Park[8] is a major feature of the Timaru Piazza development. The parkland of the Bay Area contains a mini golf course, a roller skating rink, a maze and staging for musical events. It is home to the annual Summer Carnival that takes place over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. To the south of the city centre are the Timaru Botanic Gardens, first laid out in 1864, with a notable collection of roses and native tree ferns. To the west is the Centennial Park Reserve, opened in 1940, that includes a tranquil 3.5 km walkway following the wooded valley of the Otipua Creek.

The DB Mainland Brewery in Sheffield Street offers tours and tasting sessions.

The Caroline Bay Carnival, featuring live performances, games, and side shows, takes place from Boxing Day through to mid-January at Caroline Bay Park.[9]



The Timaru Herald is the local daily newspaper for the district and has been published since the mid nineteenth century. Papers are printed in Ashburton and then distributed throughout the Otago and South Canterbury region. The Herald is owned by Fairfax New Zealand. The High Country Herald, also published by Fairfax New Zealand, has a circulation of 43,000 copies.[10]

The region also supports a weekly community newspaper, The Timaru Courier which has a circulation of over 24,000 copies and is delivered free every Thursday to local households. The Courier is owned by Allied Press of Dunedin.


Timaru has 2 local FM radio stations, Classic Hits FM and Port FM. There are also many networked FM radio stations, and a voluntary Hospital Radio 88.1/107.5 which has been running for 20 years.

Notable residents[]


  • Hugh D. Wilson, Botanist


  • Basil Arthur, Politician
  • Jo Goodhew, Politician
  • Jim Sutton, Politician

Film and television[]


  • Allen Curnow, Poet & Journalist


  • Peter Dawkins, Record producer and musician
  • Michael Houstoun, Concert Pianist

Religious leaders[]

  • Reginald Delargey, Roman Catholic cardinal


  • Richard Pearse, farmer, inventor & pioneering aviator


  • Brendan Laney, professional rugby player
  • Bob Fitzsimmons, World Heavyweight Champion from 17 March 1897 until 9 June 1899
  • Danyon Loader, Men's swimming Olympic Champion, born in Timaru
  • Ross Gillespie New Zealand Olympic Field Hockey Representative
  • Jack Lovelock, New Zealand athlete, 1936 Olympic 1500m Champion
  • Murray Parker, NZ Cricketer
  • Mark Moreton Parker, NZ Cricketer
  • Haidee Tiffen, NZ Women's Cricketer
  • John Ward, NZ Cricketer
  • Craig Cumming, NZ Cricketer
  • Hamish Bennett, Cricketer
  • Hayden Paddon, Off-Road Car Racer

Recreation and leisure[]

Performing arts[]

The Theatre Royal at 118 Stafford Street is home of much of Timaru's live entertainment.

Public libraries[]

The Timaru District Library has branches situated in Timaru, Temuka and Geraldine.

The first Reading Room was opened in the Scholl House, Barnard Street in 1862. It was open daily from 5.00pm - 10.00pm and on Saturdays 10.00am - 8.00pm. English and Colonial Newspapers were provided and a selection of Library Books for the use by members. In 1870 the Mechanics Institute was created by an addition on an existing building and aimed to provide a Library, Reading Room and News Room.

Timaru Public Library was officially opened in 1909 on the present Timaru District Council site. It was a Carnegie library, built with a 3,000 pound grant from Andrew Carnegie of New York - the condition under which the money was given was that the reading rooms should be open to everyone and that the lending Library should be free to ratepayers of the borough. The current library was opened on Sophia Street in 1979. It was designed by Miles, Warren and Mahoney.[11]


Sporting venues[]

Timaru has a comprehensive range of community sporting facilities designed to international standards for rugby, tennis, yachting, swimming, netball, cricket, golf, hockey, croquet and bowls. Aorangi Park is Timaru's major sporting venue. The Council also operates the CBAY Complex which includes upgrades to the old swimming pool, a restaurant and gym.


Timaru's main football ground is Sir Basil Arthur Park. It has 4 senior pitches and 4 junior pitches. Football is also played at The Caledonian Grounds, Anzac Square, Russell Square, West End Park, Aorangi Park and Marchwiel Park. Clubs include West End AFC, Northern Hearts, Timaru City, Timaru Thistle and Pleasant Point.


  • South Canterbury Rugby Football Union is based in Timaru. Alpine Energy Stadium is the home of local rugby.
  • In the wake of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the Super Rugby team, the Crusaders, moved at least one seasonal game to Timaru.[12]


Timaru has many Golf Clubs and well maintained Golf courses. Most have green fees of around $15 NZD. Clubs include:

and in close proximity to these (15 minute drive)


  • Patiti Point, near Timaru city, has a left-hand reef break, which operates very consistently in any swell from the east or south.
  • Jack’s Point (3 km south of Timaru) has both left and right-hand reef breaks at high tide, as does Lighthouse Reef, a short walk to the south. Southerly swells produce super-heavyweight monster breakers along the Timaru coast, which are only suitable for top-gun surfers.

Inline speed skating[]

Timaru has New Zealand's largest Inline speed skating teams, South Canterbury, which has national records in several disciplines. The club has held many national tournaments over the years and holds the annual tour of Timaru.


  • Washdyke
  • Puhuka
  • Smithfield
  • Grantlea
  • Waimataitai
  • Marchwiel
  • Caroline bay
  • Maori Hill
  • Highfield
  • Glenwood
  • Gleniti
  • Seaview
  • West End
  • Watlington
  • Parkside
  • Kensington
  • Redruth

Sister cities[]

  • Japan Eniwa City, Hokkaido, Japan
  • Australia Orange, Australia
  • People's Republic of China Weihai, China
  • United States Orange, USA

See also[]

  • Grantlea Downs School
  • Phar Lap


  1. ^ Entwisle, Behold the Moon, revised edition, 2010, ISBN 978-0-473-17534-4, p.126, n.515.
  2. ^ "Timaru's mystery pong". 3 News NZ. December 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ Wednesday, 2 March 2011, 2:19 pm Press Release: NIWA (2011-03-02). "Climate Summary – February 2011: A tale of two islands | Scoop News". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  4. ^ "Timaru weather forecast - current temperature - local weather". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  5. ^ "Climate Data". NIWA. Retrieved 2 November 2007. 
  6. ^ McKinnon, Malcolm (26 November 2010). "2. Development of regional economies, 1850 to 1920 - Regional economies". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 June 2012. "Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin (with Port Chalmers) and Invercargill (with Bluff) were all agricultural service towns with ports for their regional economies" 
  7. ^ Leask, Anna (3 September 2011). "Hubbard dies after crash". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  8. ^ Caroline Bay,
  9. ^ "Caroline Bay Carnival". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  10. ^ "High Country Herald". Fairfax New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  11. ^ "Timaru Library History". Timaru District Council. Retrieved 5 August 2009. 
  12. ^ "Timaru crowd flock to game". 11 April 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 

Further reading[]

  • James Belich, Russell Brown, and Martin Robinson (2004) New Zealand, Lonely Planet Series
  • Darroch Donald (2003) New Zealand, 2nd Edition, Footprint Guide Series.
  • Laura Harper, Tony Mudd and Paul Whitfield (2000) The Rough Guide to New Zealand, Rough Guide Series

External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Coordinates: 44°24′S 171°15′E / -44.4, 171.25

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Timaru. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.