Clutha District

Last updated
Clutha District
Tokomairiro Presbyterian Church, Milton
Clutha District.svg
Country New Zealand
Region Otago
District Clutha District Council
Seat Balclutha
  MayorBryan Cadogan
  Deputy MayorStewart Cowie
  Total6,362.86 km2 (2,456.71 sq mi)
 (June 2020) [1]
  Density2.9/km2 (7.4/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s) 03
Website Clutha District Council

Clutha District is a local government district of southern New Zealand, with its headquarters in the Otago town of Balclutha. The Clutha District has a land area of 6,362.86 km² (2,456.71 sq mi) and a 2006 census population of 16,839 usual residents. Clutha District occupies the majority of the geographical area known as South Otago.



The geography of the Clutha District is dominated by the valley of the Clutha River, which flows southeast from the lakes of Central Otago, bisecting the Clutha District and reaching the Pacific Ocean via two river mouths, one of which is not far from Kaitangata, the other is closer to Kaka Point. The two branches of the river (the Matau and the Kouau) form the island of Inch Clutha. To the south of this is the rough bush country of the Catlins, with its forests and rugged coastline. To the north of the Clutha valley is mainly rolling hill country, with the plain of the Tokomairaro River to the northeast, along with Lake Waihola and Lake Waipori, which are part of the catchment of the Taieri River. The Waipori River, the Taieri's largest tributary, forms the northeastern border of Clutha District.

Lake Waihola Lake Waihola.jpg
Lake Waihola
Balclutha Road Bridge Balclutha bridge.jpg
Balclutha Road Bridge


Clutha District is under the local body administration of the Clutha District Council, based in Balclutha. It is administered at a regional level by the Otago Regional Council, based in Dunedin.

Clutha District was formerly composed of three separate counties (Clutha, Bruce, and Tuapeka), and two boroughs (Balclutha and Milton). These were amalgamated into one district authority in 1989 as part of a nationwide reorganisation of local government.

Bruce, an area surrounding Milton, and including the Tokomairaro Plains, had an area of 1,357 km². It included the townships of Waihola, Milburn and Waitahuna. Clutha, which included the delta of the Clutha River and extended down the Catlins coast, had an area of 2,664.5 km². It included the townships of Kaitangata, Stirling, Owaka, and Benhar. The remaining area, Tuapeka, was centred on Lawrence, and included the inland valleys of the Clutha River and its tributaries the Pomahaka River and Tuapeka River. It had an area of 2,323 km².

The current mayor is Bryan Cadogan, who defeated incumbent mayor Juno Hayes in the 2010 local body elections, and retained the mayoralty in the 2013, 2016 and 2019 elections. Mr Cadogan's deputy is Stewart Cowie.


The most populous town in Clutha District is Balclutha, which lies 81km south of Dunedin by road. Balclutha's population was 4,230 in June 2020. Other towns are Milton (pop. 2,210), Kaitangata, Tapanui, Lawrence, Owaka, Stirling, Clinton, Kaka Point, and Benhar.

The district's population in June 2020 was 18,300. [1]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [2]

Clutha District had a population of 17,667 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 777 people (4.6%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 828 people (4.9%) since the 2006 census. There were 7,020 households. There were 9,195 males and 8,472 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.09 males per female. Of the total population, 3,411 people (19.3%) were aged up to 15 years, 2,898 (16.4%) were 15 to 29, 8,271 (46.8%) were 30 to 64, and 3,087 (17.5%) were 65 or older. Figures may not add up to the total due to rounding.

Ethnicities were 88.8% European/Pākehā, 12.4% Māori, 1.9% Pacific peoples, 3.6% Asian, and 1.9% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 11.3, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 54.7% had no religion, 34.3% were Christian, and 3.1% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 1,611 (11.3%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 3,822 (26.8%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $30,900. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 7,539 (52.9%) people were employed full-time, 2,235 (15.7%) were part-time, and 393 (2.8%) were unemployed. [2]

Related Research Articles

Otago Region of New Zealand

Otago is a region of New Zealand located in the southern half of the South Island administered by the Otago Regional Council. It has an area of approximately 32,000 square kilometres (12,000 sq mi), making it the country's second largest local government region. Its population was 245,300 in June 2020.

Balclutha, New Zealand Town in Otago, New Zealand

Balclutha is a town in Otago, lying towards the end of the Clutha River, on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is about halfway between Dunedin and Invercargill on the Main South Line railway, State Highway 1 and the Southern Scenic Route. Balclutha has a population of 4,230, and is the largest town in South Otago.

Clutha River / Mata-Au

The Clutha River / Mata-Au is the second longest river in New Zealand and the longest in the South Island. It flows south-southeast 338 kilometres (210 mi) through Central and South Otago from Lake Wānaka in the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean, 75 kilometres (47 mi) south west of Dunedin. It is the highest volume river in New Zealand, and the swiftest, with a catchment of 21,960 square kilometres (8,480 sq mi), discharging a mean flow of 614 cubic metres per second (21,700 cu ft/s). The Clutha River is known for its scenery, gold-rush history, and swift turquoise waters. A river conservation group, the Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway Group, is working to establish a regional river parkway, with a trail, along the entire river corridor. The name of the river was changed to a dual name by the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998.

Henley, New Zealand

Henley is a township on New Zealand's Taieri Plains, presumably named after the rowing centre Henley-on-Thames in England. It lies close to the confluence of the Taieri and Waipori Rivers at the eastern edge of the plain, at the foot of a low range of coastal hills.

Kaitangata, New Zealand Place in Otago, New Zealand

Kaitangata is a town near the coast of South Otago, New Zealand, on the left bank of the Clutha River ten kilometres south east of Balclutha. The town is known to its residents simply as Kai.

The Catlins Coastal region of the South Island of New Zealand

The Catlins comprises an area in the southeastern corner of the South Island of New Zealand. The area lies between Balclutha and Invercargill, straddling the boundary between the Otago and Southland regions. It includes the South Island's southernmost point, Slope Point.

Lake Waihola

Lake Waihola is a 640 ha tidal freshwater lake located 15 km north of Milton in Otago, in New Zealand's South Island. Its area is some 9 square kilometres, with a maximum length of 6 kilometres and a mean depth of 0.75m.

Taieri Plain

The Taieri Plain is an area of fertile agricultural land to the southwest of Dunedin, in Otago, New Zealand. The plain covers an area of some 300 square kilometres, with a maximum extent of 30 kilometres.

Waipori River

The Waipori River is in Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. Rising in the Lammerlaw Range, it flows southeast for 50 kilometres (31 mi) before joining the Taieri River near Henley, 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Dunedin of which it is officially the southernmost border. Google Maps erroneously shows the stretch of Taieri river from the confluence to the mouth as Waipori River. The correct name is shown on the New Zealand government's official NZ Topo Map.

South Otago lies in the south east of the South Island of New Zealand. As the name suggests, it forms the southernmost part of the geographical region of Otago.

Lake Tuakitoto

Lake Tuakitoto is a small lake in South Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand. It is located to the northeast of Balclutha, close to the small town of Kaitangata. The smallest of South Otago's three main lakes, it is, like the others very shallow. The lake drains into the lower reaches of the Clutha River.

Owaka Place in Otago, New Zealand

Owaka is a small town in the Clutha District of South Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand. It is the largest community in the rugged, forested Catlins area, close to the border with Southland, some 35 km (22 mi) south of Balclutha on the Southern Scenic Route.

Ōwaka River

The Ōwaka River, until 2019 officially the Owaka River, flows southeastward through The Catlins, an area of the southern South Island of New Zealand. Its total length is 30 kilometres (19 mi), and it shares the estuary of the Catlins River, flowing into the Pacific Ocean at Pounawea, 28 kilometres (17 mi) south of Balclutha. Its source is on the slopes of Mount Rosebery, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Clinton. The Ōwaka River is located within the Clutha District.

Southern Scenic Route Road in New Zealand

The Southern Scenic Route is a tourist highway in New Zealand linking Queenstown, Fiordland, Te Anau and the iconic Milford Road to Dunedin via, Riverton, Invercargill and The Catlins. An Australian travel magazine labelled it "one of the world's great undiscovered drives" in 2008.

Waihola Town in Otago, New Zealand

The township of Waihola lies between Dunedin and Milton, New Zealand in Otago, in New Zealand's South Island. It lies close to the southeast shore of the shallow tidal lake which shares its name.

Clutha was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate from 1866 to 1996.

Taieri is a parliamentary electorate in the Otago region of New Zealand, initially from 1866 to 1911, and was later recreated during the 2019/20 electoral redistribution ahead of the 2020 election.

Port Molyneux

Port Molyneux is a tiny settlement on the coast of South Otago, New Zealand, close to the north-easternmost point of The Catlins. Now home only to farmland, it was a thriving port in the early years of New Zealand's European settlement.


  1. 1 2 "Population estimate tables - NZ.Stat". Statistics New Zealand . Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  2. 1 2 "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Clutha District (072). 2018 Census place summary: Clutha District

Coordinates: 46°14′24″S169°44′13″E / 46.24000°S 169.73694°E / -46.24000; 169.73694