Otago

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Otago

Ōtākou
Otago Region
Otago within New Zealand
CountryNew Zealand
Island South Island
Established1848 (Dunedin settlement)
1852 (Otago Province)
1989 (Otago Regional Council)
Seat Dunedin
Territorial authorities
Government
  ChairAndrew Noone
  Deputy Chair Michael Laws
Area
  Region31,251 km2 (12,066 sq mi)
Population
 (June 2020) [1]
  Region245,300
  Density7.8/km2 (20/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+12:00 (NZST)
  Summer (DST) UTC+13:00 (NZDT)
HDI (2017)0.920 [2]
very high · 5th
Website www.Otago.co.nz
www.ORC.govt.nz

Otago ( /əˈtɑːɡ/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ), /-,ɒ-/ [3] ; Māori : Ōtākou [ɔːˈtaːkou] ) 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), [4] making it the country's second largest local government region. Its population was 245,300 in June 2020. [1]

Contents

The name "Otago" is an Anglicisation of "Otakou", the name of the Māori village near the entrance to the harbour. [5] The exact meaning of the term is disputed, with common translations being "isolated village" and "place of red earth", the latter referring to the reddish-ochre clay which is common in the area around Dunedin. "Otago" is also the old name of the European settlement on the Otago Harbour, established by the Weller Brothers in 1831, which lies close to the modern harbourside community of Otakou. The place later became the focus of the Otago Association, an offshoot of the Free Church of Scotland, notable for its adoption of the principle that ordinary people, not the landowner, should choose the ministers.

Major centres include Dunedin (the principal city), Oamaru (made famous by Janet Frame), Balclutha, Alexandra, and the major tourist centres Queenstown and Wanaka. Kaitangata in South Otago is a prominent source of coal. The Waitaki and Clutha rivers provide much of the country's hydroelectric power. Vineyards and wineries have been developed in the Central Otago wine region. Some parts of the area originally covered by Otago Province are now administered by either Canterbury Regional Council or Southland Regional Council.

History

The Otago settlement, an outgrowth of the Free Church of Scotland, materialised in March 1848 with the arrival of the first two immigrant ships from Greenock on the Firth of Clyde—the John Wickliffe and the Philip Laing. Captain William Cargill, a veteran of the Peninsular War, was the secular leader: Otago citizens subsequently elected him to the office of provincial Superintendent after the New Zealand provinces were created in 1853. [6] The Otago Province was the whole of New Zealand from the Waitaki River south, including Stewart Island and the sub-Antarctic islands. It included the territory of the later Southland Province and also the much more extensive lands of the modern Southland Region.

Arrowtown, a historic mining town Arrowtown (4678481119).jpg
Arrowtown, a historic mining town

Initial settlement was concentrated on the port and city, then expanded, notably to the south-west, where the fertile Taieri Plains offered good farmland. [7] The 1860s saw rapid commercial expansion after Gabriel Read discovered gold at Gabriel's Gully near Lawrence, and the Central Otago goldrush ensued. [8] Veterans of goldfields in California and Australia, plus many other fortune-seekers from Europe, North America and China, poured into the then Province of Otago, eroding its Scottish Presbyterian character. Further gold discoveries at Clyde and on the Arrow River around Arrowtown led to a boom, and Otago became for a period the cultural and economic centre of New Zealand. New Zealand's first daily newspaper, the Otago Daily Times , originally edited by Julius Vogel, dates from this period. [9]

The University of Otago, New Zealand's oldest university University of Otago.jpg
The University of Otago, New Zealand's oldest university

New Zealand's first university, the University of Otago, was founded in 1869 as the provincial university in Dunedin. [10]

The Province of Southland separated from Otago Province and set up its own Provincial Council at Invercargill in 1861. After difficulties ensued, Otago re-absorbed it in 1870. Its territory is included in the southern region of the old Otago Province which is named after it and is now the territory of the Southland region.

The provincial governments were abolished in 1876 when the Abolition of the Provinces Act came into force on 1 November 1876, [11] and were replaced by other forms of local authority, including counties. Two in Otago were named after the Scottish independence heroes Wallace and Bruce. From this time the national limelight gradually shifted northwards.

Geography

Aerial photo of Beaumont area in Otago, looking southwest. State Highway 8 runs from left to right across the photo (only visible in the right half), and crosses the Clutha River just below centre. Beaumont, New Zealand aerial photo 2006.jpg
Aerial photo of Beaumont area in Otago, looking southwest. State Highway 8 runs from left to right across the photo (only visible in the right half), and crosses the Clutha River just below centre.
Mount Aspiring / Tititea is New Zealand's highest mountain outside the Aoraki / Mount Cook region. Mount Aspiring, Otago, New Zealand, 22 July 2005.jpg
Mount Aspiring / Tititea is New Zealand's highest mountain outside the Aoraki / Mount Cook region.

Beginning in the west, the geography of Otago consists of high alpine mountains. The highest peak in Otago (and highest outside the Aoraki / Mount Cook area) is Mount Aspiring / Tititea, [12] which is on the Main Divide. From the high mountains the rivers discharge into large glacial lakes. In this part of Otago glacial activity – both recent and very old – dominates the landscape, with large 'U' shaped valleys and rivers which have high sediment loads. River flows also vary dramatically, with large flood flows occurring after heavy rain. Lakes Wakatipu, Wanaka, and Hawea form the sources of the Clutha, the largest river (by discharge) in New Zealand. The Clutha flows generally to the southeast through Otago and discharges near Balclutha. The river has been used for hydroelectric power generation, with large dams at Clyde and Roxburgh. The traditional northern boundary of the region, the Waitaki River, is also heavily utilised for hydroelectricity, though the region's current official boundaries put much of that river's catchment in Canterbury.

Kawarau Gorge, where Roaring Meg joins the Kawarau River, in central Otago Kawarau Gorge and Roaring Meg.jpg
Kawarau Gorge, where Roaring Meg joins the Kawarau River, in central Otago

The country's fourth-longest river, the Taieri, also has both its source and outflow in Otago, rising from rough hill country and following a broad horseshoe-shaped path, north, then east, and finally southeast, before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Along its course it forms two notable geographic features – the broad high valley of the Strath-Taieri in its upper reaches, and the fertile Taieri Plains as it approaches the ocean.

Travelling east from the mountains, the Central Otago drylands predominate. These are Canterbury-Otago tussock grasslands dominated by the block mountains, upthrust schist mountains. In contrast to Canterbury, where the Northwest winds blow across the plains without interruption, in Otago the block mountains impede and dilute the effects of the Nor'wester.

The main Central Otago centres, such as Alexandra and Cromwell, are found in the intermontane basins between the block mountains. The schist bedrock influence extends to the eastern part of Otago, where remnant volcanics mark its edge. The remains of the most spectacular of these are the Miocene volcanics centred on Otago Harbour. Elsewhere, basalt outcrops can be found along the coast and at other sites.

Comparatively similar terrain exists in the high plateau land of the Maniototo Plain, which lies to the east of Central Otago, close to the upper reaches of the Taieri River. This area is sparsely populated, but of historical note for its importance during the Central Otago Gold Rush of the 1860s. The townships of Ranfurly and Naseby lie in this area.

In the southeastern corner of Otago lies The Catlins, [12] an area of rough hill country which geologically forms part of the Murihiku terrane, an accretion which extends inland through the Hokonui Hills in the Southland region. This itself forms part of a larger system known as the Southland Syncline, which links to similar formations in Nelson (offset by the Alpine Fault) and even in New Caledonia, 3,500 km (2,200 mi) away. [13] The Catlins ranges are strike ridges composed of Triassic and Jurassic sandstones, mudstones and other related sedimentary rocks, often with a high incidence of feldspar. Fossils of the late and middle Triassic Warepan and Kaihikuan stages are found in the area.

Climate

Weather conditions vary enormously across Otago, but can be broken into two broad types: the coastal climate of the coastal regions and the more continental climate of the interior. [14]

Coastal regions of Otago are subject to the alternating warm and dry/cool and wet weather patterns common to the interannual Southern oscillation. The Southern Hemisphere storm track produces an irregular short cycle of weather which repeats roughly every week, with three or four days of fine weather followed by three or four days of cooler, damp conditions. Drier conditions are often the result of the northwesterly föhn wind, which dries as it crosses the Southern Alps. Wetter air is the result of approaching low-pressure systems which sweep fronts over the country from the southwest. A common variant in this pattern is the centring of a stationary low-pressure zone to the southeast of the country, resulting in long-lasting cool, wet conditions. These have been responsible for several notable historical floods, such as the "hundred year floods" of October 1878 and October 1978.

Typically, winters are cool and wet in the extreme south areas and snow can fall and settle to sea level in winter, especially in the hills and plains of South Otago. More Central and Northern Coastal areas winter is sunnier and drier. Summers, by contrast, tend to be warm and dry, with temperatures often reaching the high 20s and low 30s Celsius.

In Central Otago cold frosty winters are succeeded by hot dry summers. Central Otago's climate is the closest approximation to a continental climate anywhere in New Zealand. This climate is part of the reason why Central Otago vineyards are successful in this region. This inland region is one of the driest regions in the country, sheltered from prevailing rain-bearing weather conditions by the high mountains to the west and hills of the south. Summers can be hot, with temperatures often approaching or exceeding 30 degrees Celsius; winters, by contrast, are often bitterly cold – the township of Ranfurly in Central Otago holds the New Zealand record for lowest temperature with a reading of −25.6 °C on 18 July 1903. [15]

Population

A map showing population density in the Otago Region at the 2006 census. OtagoRegionPopulationDensity.png
A map showing population density in the Otago Region at the 2006 census.

The population of Otago is 245,300 as of June 2020, [1] [1] which is approximately 4.8 percent of New Zealand's total population of 5.1 million. About 43.3 percent of the population resides in the Dunedin urban area—the region's main city and the country's sixth largest urban area. For historical and geographical reasons, Dunedin is usually regarded as one of New Zealand's four main centres. Unlike other southern centres, Dunedin's population has not declined since the 1970s, largely due to the presence of the University of Otago – and especially its medical school – which attracts students from all over New Zealand and overseas. [16]

Other significant urban centres in Otago with populations over 1,000 include: Queenstown, Oamaru, Wanaka, Port Chalmers, Cromwell, Alexandra, Balclutha, Milton and Mosgiel. Between 1996 and 2006, the population of the Queenstown Lakes District grew by 60% due to the region's booming tourism industry. [17]

Urban areas in Otago
Urban areaPopulation
(June 2020) [1]
 % of region
Dunedin [lower-alpha 1] 106,20043.3%
Queenstown 16,0006.5%
Mosgiel 14,6006.0%
Oamaru 13,7005.6%
Wanaka 11,5504.7%
Cromwell 6,4802.6%
Alexandra 5,7902.4%
Lake Hayes 6,2402.5%
Balclutha 4,2301.7%
Arrowtown 3,0301.2%
Milton 2,2100.9%
Brighton 1,5400.6%
Waikouaiti 1,2500.5%
Clyde 1,2000.5%
Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1991177,525    
1996185,085+0.84%
2001181,542−0.39%
2006193,803+1.32%
2013202,470+0.63%
2018225,186+2.15%
Source: [18] [19]
Largest groups of overseas-born residents [20] [21]
NationalityPopulation (2013)
United Kingdom10,757
Australia3,897
China1,503
United States1,482
South Africa1,182
Philippines1,065
Netherlands969
India870
Germany846

Otago Region had a population of 225,186 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 22,716 people (11.2%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 31,383 people (16.2%) since the 2006 census. There were 85,665 households. There were 110,970 males and 114,219 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.97 males per female. Of the total population, 37,275 people (16.6%) were aged up to 15 years, 51,702 (23.0%) were 15 to 29, 99,123 (44.0%) were 30 to 64, and 37,086 (16.5%) were 65 or older. Figures may not add up to the total due to rounding.

Ethnicities were 86.9% European/Pākehā, 8.7% Māori, 2.7% Pacific peoples, 7.1% Asian, and 3.1% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 21.7, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 55.8% had no religion, 33.4% were Christian, and 4.6% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 42,816 (22.8%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 31,122 (16.6%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $30,000. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 92,418 (49.2%) people were employed full-time, 30,396 (16.2%) were part-time, and 6,048 (3.2%) were unemployed. [18]

The majority of the population of European lineage is of Scottish stock—the descendants of early Scottish settlers from the early 19th century. Other well-represented European groups include those of English, Irish, and Dutch descent. A large proportion of the Māori population are from the Ngāi Tahu iwi or tribe. Other significant ethnic minorities include Asians, Pacific Islanders, Africans, Latin Americans and Middle Easterners. [22] Otago's early waves of settlement, especially during and immediately after the gold rush of the 1860s, included a substantial minority of southern (Guangdong) Chinese settlers, and a smaller but also prominent number of people from Lebanon. [23] The region's Jewish population also experienced a small influx at this time. The early and middle years of the twentieth century saw smaller influxes of immigrants from several mainland European countries, most notably the Netherlands.

In line with the region's Scottish heritage, Presbyterianism is the largest Christian denomination with 17.1 percent affiliating, while Catholicism is the second-largest denomination with 11.5 percent affiliating. [24]

Politics

Local government

The seat of the Otago Regional Council is in Dunedin. The council is chaired by Andrew Noone as of July 2021.

There are five territorial authorities in Otago:

Parliamentary representation

Otago is represented by four parliamentary electorates. Dunedin and nearby towns are represented by the Dunedin electorate, held by David Clark, and the Taieri electorate, occupied by Ingrid Leary. Both MPs are members of the governing Labour Party, and Dunedin has traditionally been a Labour stronghold. Since 2008 the rest of Otago has been divided between the large rural electorates of Waitaki, which also includes some of the neighbouring Canterbury Region, and Clutha-Southland, which also includes most of the rural part of the neighbouring Southland Region. The Waitaki electorate has traditionally been a National Party stronghold and is currently held by Jacqui Dean. The Southland electorate, also a National Party stronghold, is currently represented by Joseph Mooney. The earlier Otago electorate existed from 1978 to 2008, when it was split and merged into Waitaki and Clutha-Southland.

Two list MPs are based in Dunedin – Michael Woodhouse of the National Party and Rachel Brooking of the Labour Party. One-time Labour Party Deputy Leader David Parker is a former MP for the Otago electorate and currently a list MP.

Under the Māori electorates system, Otago is also part of the large Te Tai Tonga electorate, which covers the entire South Island and surrounding islands, and is currently held by Labour Party MP Rino Tirikatene.

Ngāi Tahu governance

Three of the 18 Ngāi Tahu Rūnanga (councils) are based in the Otago Region. All of which are centred at coastal marae, Ōtākou, Moeraki and Puketeraki at Karitane. [25] There is also the Arai Te Uru Marae in Dunedin. [26]

Economy

The subnational gross domestic product (GDP) of Otago was estimated at NZ$14.18 billion [27] in the year to March 2020, 4.38% of New Zealand's national GDP. The regional GDP per capita was estimated at $58,353 in the same period. In the year to March 2018, primary industries contributed $1.25 billion (9.8%) to the regional GDP, goods-producing industries contributed $2.38 billion (18.6%), service industries contributed $8.05 billion (63.0%), and taxes and duties contributed $1.10 billion (8.6%). [28]

Otago has a mixed economy. Dunedin is home to manufacturing, publishing and technology-based industries. Rural economies have been reinvigorated in the 1990s and 2000s: in Clutha district, farms have been converted from sheep to more lucrative dairying. Vineyard planting and production remained modest until the middle of the 1990s when the New Zealand wine industry began to expand rapidly. The Central Otago wine region produces award-winning wines made from varieties such as the Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Merlot and Riesling grapes. It has an increasing reputation as New Zealand's leading Pinot noir region. [29]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Middlemarch, New Zealand Human settlement in Dunedin City, Otago Region, New Zealand

Middlemarch is a small town in the Otago region of New Zealand's South Island. It lies at the foot of the Rock and Pillar Range of hills in the broad Strath-Taieri valley, through which flows the middle reaches of the Taieri River. Since local government reorganisation in the late 1980s, Middlemarch and much of the Strath-Taieri has been administered as part of Dunedin city, the centre of which lies some 80 km to the southeast. Middlemarch is part of the Taieri electorate, and is currently represented in parliament by Ingrid Leary. Middlemarch has reticulated sewerage but no reticulated water supply. A description of 1903, that "[T]he summer seasons are warm, but not enervating, and the winters cold, but dry" is still true today.

Lake Wānaka Lake in Otago, New Zealand

Lake Wānaka is New Zealand's fourth-largest lake and the seat of the town of Wanaka in the Otago region. The lake is 278 meters above sea level, covers 192 km2 (74 sq mi), and is more than 300 m (980 ft) deep.

Dunedin City in Otago, New Zealand

Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the Otago region. Its name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.

Wanaka Town in Otago, New Zealand

Wanaka, called Pembroke by post-colonial inhabitants until 1940, is a popular ski and summer resort town in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. At the southern end of Lake Wānaka, it is at the start of the Clutha River / Mata-Au and is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park.

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.

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.

Otakou Place in Otago, New Zealand

Otakou is a settlement within the boundaries of the city of Dunedin, New Zealand. It is located 25 kilometres from the city centre at the eastern end of Otago Peninsula, close to the entrance of Otago Harbour. Though a small fishing village, Otakou is important in the history of Otago for several reasons. The settlement is the modern centre and traditional home of the Ōtākou rūnanga (assembly) of Ngāi Tahu. In 1946 Otakou Fisheries was founded in the township; this was later to become a major part of the Otago fishing industry.

West Otago is the local name given to part of the region of Otago, New Zealand, lying close to the border with Southland. It is administratively connected to South Otago, but is geographically separated from it by a range of hills known as the Blue Mountains. The largest settlements in West Otago are Tapanui and Heriot, and other localities within the area include Moa Flat, Edievale, Crookston, Merino Downs, and Waikoikoi. The area described as West Otago is sometimes extended to include Lawrence, Clinton, and Beaumont. The ghost town of Kelso also lies within West Otago. Other notable features of the area include Conical Hill and Landslip Hill, the latter being a major fossil-bearing formation.

Lake Hāwea Lake in Otago Region, New Zealand

Lake Hāwea is New Zealand's ninth largest lake.

Taieri Mouth

Taieri Mouth is a small fishing village at the mouth of the Taieri River, New Zealand. Taieri Island lies in the ocean several hundred metres off the river's mouth.

Clutha District Territorial authority in Otago, New Zealand

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 and a 2006 census population of 16,839 usual residents. Clutha District occupies the majority of the geographical area known as South Otago.

Clutha-Southland Former electoral district in New Zealand

Clutha-Southland was a parliamentary constituency returning one member to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The last MP for Clutha Southland was Hamish Walker of the National Party. He held the seat for one term, being elected at the 2017 general election and representing the electorate until the 2020 general election where he retired from Parliament, and the seat was relaced with the Southland electorate.

Otago was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate first created for the 1978 election, which was replaced by the Waitaki electorate and Clutha-Southland electorates for the 2008 election. Its last representative was Jacqui Dean of the National Party.

Scottish New Zealanders are New Zealanders of Scottish ancestry or who originate from Scotland. The number of New Zealanders who are descended from Scots is unknown, as the New Zealand census asks for ethnicity, not ancestry, and most have now assimilated; nonetheless, the vast majority of Pākehā, or European New Zealanders are of British and Irish descent, and it has been estimated that 1-2 million New Zealanders have roots in Scotland. This includes many Māori, as a large proportion of which have European roots as well. Most Scottish New Zealanders live in New Zealand's deep southern regions of Otago and Murihiku, where they have had an incredible influence. Scottish influence on Dunedin, one of New Zealand's most historically important cities was profound, and Presbyterianism is the major religion south of Christchurch. In some parts of Otago but all of Murihiku, there is a distinct accent known as the "Southland Brrr", which differs from mainstream New Zealand English for being strongly rhotic.

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.

Southland, New Zealand Region of New Zealand

Southland is New Zealand's southernmost region. It consists mainly of the southwestern portion of the South Island and Stewart Island/Rakiura. It includes Southland District, Gore District and the city of Invercargill. The region covers over 3.1 million hectares and spans over 3,400 km of coast.

Southland is an electorate to the New Zealand House of Representatives. It was first created for the 2020 New Zealand general election and has since then been held by Joseph Mooney of the National Party.

Dunedin is an electorate to the New Zealand House of Representatives. It was created for the 2020 election.

Southern District Health Board

The Southern District Health Board is a district health board with the focus on providing healthcare to an area covering the southern half of the South Island of New Zealand.

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Coordinates: 45°53′S170°30′E / 45.883°S 170.500°E / -45.883; 170.500