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Te Tihi-o-Maru
Secondary urban area
Timaru is located in New Zealand
Country New Zealand
Region Canterbury
Territorial authority Timaru District
 • Mayor Damon Odey
 • Land 2,736.54 km2 (1,056.58 sq mi)
Highest elevation 95 m (312 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Secondary urban area 46,850
 • Urban 31,205
Time zone New Zealand Standard Time (UTC+12)
 • Summer (DST) New Zealand Daylight Time (UTC+13)
Postcode 7910

Timaru (English pronunciation: ;[1] Māori: Te Tihi-o-Maru) is a major port city in the southern Canterbury region of New Zealand, located 157 kilometres southwest of Christchurch and about 196 kilometres northeast of Dunedin on the eastern Pacific coast of the South Island. The Timaru District, a territorial authority of 46,850 people (2013 census) in and around Timaru City (31,205), includes a prosperous agricultural hinterland with links to smaller rural communities such as Pleasant Point (1,190), Temuka (4,247), and Geraldine (2,574). The town of Waimate is about 43 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 city 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 built 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 1
  • History 2
    • Early settlement 2.1
    • 19th-century European settlement 2.2
    • 20th century development 2.3
    • 21st century 2.4
  • Geography 3
  • Location 4
    • Climate 4.1
  • Government 5
  • Economy 6
  • Transport 7
  • Education 8
  • Shopping 9
  • Tourist attractions 10
  • Media 11
    • Print 11.1
    • Radio 11.2
  • Notable residents 12
    • Academics 12.1
    • Business 12.2
    • Politics 12.3
    • Film and television 12.4
    • Journalism 12.5
    • Music 12.6
    • Religious leaders 12.7
    • Aviation 12.8
    • Sports 12.9
  • Recreation and leisure 13
    • Performing arts 13.1
    • Public libraries 13.2
    • Night life 13.3
  • Sports 14
    • Sporting venues 14.1
    • Football 14.2
    • Rugby 14.3
    • Golf 14.4
    • Surfing 14.5
    • Inline speed skating 14.6
  • Suburbs 15
  • See also 16
  • References 17
  • Further reading 18
  • External links 19

Timaru district settlements


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 .

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

  • Timaru District Council
  • Tourist information
  • Timaru District Library
  • South Canterbury Museum
  • Historic images of Timaru from the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

External links

  • 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
  • Mark Lawson (1993) The Battle for Room Service: Journeys to all the safe places

Further reading

  1. ^
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Pinney, Robert. "George Rhodes".  
  4. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1903). "Timaru". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Canterbury Provincial District. Christchurch:  
  5. ^ a b Pinney, Robert. "Le Cren, Frederic and Le Cren, Henry John".  
  6. ^ "Strathallan". Rootsweb. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Timaru's mystery pong". 3 News NZ. 4 December 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c "Climate: Timaru – Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  9. ^ 2 March 2011, 2:19 pm Press Release: NIWA (2 March 2011). "Climate Summary – February 2011: A tale of two islands | Scoop News". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  10. ^ "Timaru weather forecast – current temperature – local weather". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  11. ^ "Climate Data and Activities". NIWA. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Timaru, New Zealand". Voodoo Skies. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  13. ^ 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 
  14. ^ Leask, Anna (3 September 2011). "Hubbard dies after crash". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  15. ^ Caroline Bay,
  16. ^ "Caroline Bay Carnival". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  17. ^ "High Country Herald". Fairfax New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  18. ^ "Mika (Neil Gudsell)". Timaru District Council. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  19. ^ "Veteran broadcaster Phillip Leishman dies". Timaru Herald. 26 February 2013. 
  20. ^ "Timaru Library History". Timaru District Council. Retrieved 5 August 2009. 
  21. ^ "Timaru crowd flock to game".  


See also

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


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.

Inline speed skating

  • 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.


and in close proximity to these (15-minute drive)

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



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.


Timaru has a comprehensive range of community sporting facilities designed to international standards for rugby, tennis, yachting, Hardcourt Bike Polo, swimming, netball, cricket, golf, hockey, croquet, pistol shooting, trap shooting 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.

Sporting venues


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 by the roundabout in 1979. It was designed by Miles, Warren and Mahoney.[20]

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 has many nightclubs,bars and restaurants to enjoy with many of them open every night.

Night life

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

Public libraries

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

Performing arts

Recreation and leisure



Religious leaders



Film and television




Notable residents

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.


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.

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.[17]



The Caroline Bay Carnival, featuring live performances, games, and side shows, takes place from Boxing Day through to mid-January at Caroline Bay Park.[16]

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

Timaru has with a number of open spaces, public gardens and parks. The Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden at Caroline Bay Park[15] 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 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.

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.

South Canterbury Museum

Tourist attractions

Timaru has a branch of The Warehouse, a major national retailer. Ballantynes is a large department store in the city centre, there are also many other shops in the area.

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


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.

Further information: List of schools in Canterbury, New Zealand


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

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

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.

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.

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


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.[14]

Timaru is the second largest fishing port in New Zealand.

Timaru is an agricultural service town and port for the South Canterbury regional economy.[13] 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 part of the parliamentary electorate of Rangitata, represented by Jo Goodhew of the New Zealand National Party.

The mayor of Timaru is Damon Odey.

Timaru Council Building


Climate data for Timaru
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36
Average high °C (°F) 21.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 16.4
Average low °C (°F) 11.6
Record low °C (°F) −2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 54
Source #1: (altitude: 22m)[8]
Source #2: Voodoo Skies for record temperatures[12] gives slightly warmer averages.[8]

Climate data for Timaru (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 21.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 15.9
Average low °C (°F) 10.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 46.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.8 6.7 6.2 5.7 5.7 5.3 5.8 5.7 5.8 7.1 6.8 8.0 75.6
Average relative humidity (%) 77.7 83.5 83.8 85.4 85.6 85.0 85.4 83.7 78.7 77.3 75.2 76.3 81.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 192.7 170.2 168.6 158.0 130.1 121.0 131.0 151.5 156.5 183.4 189.0 179.7 1,931.9
Source: NIWA Climate Data[11]

Timaru has a relatively dry temperate climate similar to that of neighbouring [8] by Köppen-Geiger climate classification system. Temperatures are warm in summer and cold in winter, with Timaru's extreme maximum temperature being 41.3 °C on 6 February 2011[9] and extreme minimum temperature of −9.1 °C on 3 August 1998.[10] Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year, with a very small proportion of it falling as snow.


Timaru is situated along the Pacific Ocean coast. Much of the hinterland is farmland. To the north and northeast are the Canterbury Plains.


See Canterbury, New Zealand#Geography


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.[7]

21st century

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. Sacred Heart Basilica was opened in 1911.

20th century development

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.

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. [6] arrived from England, carrying a party of 120 immigrants.SS Strathallan Few lived in Timaru until 1859 when the ship [5], and Le Cren himself moved to Timaru in the following year.Lyttelton of Henry Le Cren, who set up a store in 1857 on behalf of Henry Cain One of the earliest settlers was Captain [4][3]

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