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Dunedin City
Māori: Ōtepoti
Geographical location
Dunedin CC.PNG
Location of Dunedin City
Photo by Dunedin
Dunedin from district Opoho seen from
Local authority
Country New Zealand
island South island
region Otago
Local authority City
Council Dunedin City Council
mayor Dave Cull
founding 1848
Post Code 9010, 9011, 9012, 9013, 9014, 9016, 9018, 9022, 9023, 9024, 9035, 9076, 9077, 9081, 9082, 9092
Telephone code +64 (0) 3
Website www.dunedin.govt.nz
Dunedin city coa.gif
coat of arms
nickname Edinburgh of the South
( Edinburgh of the South )
Coordinates 45 ° 52 ′  S , 170 ° 30 ′  E Coordinates: 45 ° 52 ′  S , 170 ° 30 ′  E
Highest elevation 767 m
Lowest point Height of sea level
surface 3 287  km 2
Residents 120 249 (2013)
Population density 36.58 inhabitants per km 2
Statistical data
Public revenue NZ $ 210.7 million  (2015)
Public expenditure NZ $ 212.2 million  (2015)
Number of households 50 691 (2013)
Ø income NZ $ 23,300  (2013)
Māori population 7.4% (2013)

Dunedin [ dəˈniːdɨn ], official name: Dunedin City , on Māori Ōtepoti , is the second largest city on the South Island of New Zealand and the administrative seat of the Otago region.

Origin of name

The name Dunedin is the Anglicised form of the Scottish Gaelic name Dùn Èideann for the Scottish city ​​of Edinburgh and means fortress on the hillside .


Geographical location

Dunedin , Otago Peninsula and Otago Harbor

Dunedin is located in the southeast of the South Island. The city and has a pure land area of 3287 square kilometers belonged to the Census in 2013 120,249 inhabitants. This makes Dunedin the second largest city in the country after Auckland in terms of area , but with 36.6 inhabitants per km² it is the city with the lowest population density of all cities that have the status of a city.

The city is bounded to the south by the Clutha District , to the west by the Central Otago District and to the north by the Waitaki District . The eastern border of the city forms the coastline to the Pacific Ocean .

Framed by a chain of hills, the city center lies directly on the Pacific Ocean and Otago Harbor , a natural harbor that was created through the formation of the Otago Peninsula . To the west of the city center, the urban area extends into the Central Otago s ecoregion . The highest point of Dunedin is the 767  m high Silver Peak . Near the city center rises the 676  m high Mount Cargill . The Taieri River runs south through the urban area and flows into the Pacific Ocean on the southeastern edge of the urban area.

To the north is the district of Waitati .


Inserted into the eroded lava bed of an ancient volcano , the city of Dunedin is surrounded by a rich succession of volcanic, sedimentary and metamorphic rock types. The city center, located at the southern end of Otago Harbor , lies on a sandbank that turned the Otago Peninsula into a peninsula. The core of the crater was in the Port Chalmers area . The lava flow of that time poured lengthways on both sides of today's Otago Harbor and shaped it. Active about ten to 13 million years ago, the volcano gave the landscape enough time to become softer and habitable through erosion.

City structure

City center view

The urban area of Dunedin is divided into:


Halfway Bush , Wakari , Helensburgh, Maori Hill , Kaikorai , Liberton, Dalmore, Mt. Mera, North East Valley, North Dunedin .


Brockville, Belleknowes, Roslyn, Mornington, Bradford, Kenmure, Balaclava, Burnside, Abbotsford, Sunnyvale, Green Island, Concord .


Caversham, Kew, St. Clair, St. Kilda, Mary Hill, South Dunedin , Tainui , Ocean View .


Kensington, Vauxhall, Anderson Bay, Shiel Hill, Waverly .

Significant places in the urban area outside Dunedin city ​​center are Mosgiel , Middlemarch , Port Chalmers and Portobello .


Dunedin is influenced by westerly and northeast winds. While the city center and the part adjoining it to the west can expect precipitation between 800 and 1000 mm per year, the surrounding parts of the city area are much drier with values ​​between 500 and 700 mm. The average daytime temperatures in summer are between 17 ° C and 19 ° C, in winter on the coast and in the city center around 3 ° C to 5 ° C, in the western part between 0 ° C and −2 ° C. The annual sunshine duration in the entire city area is between 1600 and 1700 hours.


Early settlement

Dunedin in 1913

The archaeologists date the first settlement of the Otago coastal region around 1100 AD. It was Polynesians who explored the coastal regions and finally settled there. They developed their own culture and called themselves Māori , which in the meaning of the word means natural , normal or local . When the Europeans came to New Zealand, there was considerable tension between Māori tribes in the greater area of ​​present-day Dunedin , mainly between the Ngāi Tahu and the Ngāti Toa . This feud escalated in the early 19th century, causing a significant decimation of the population. Furthermore, diseases brought in through contact with Europeans caused further losses in the population. In Ōtākou , a historically significant Māori settlement on the Otago Peninsula , only a little more than 100 Ngai Tahu natives were counted around 1848.

European settlement

The first visit and contact of a European by the navigator and explorer James Cook is documented in the spring of 1770. He described a saddle-shaped hill, which became known as Saddle Hill , west of Dunedin , the entrance to the natural harbor Otago Harbor , an exposed position of the Otago Peninsula , which he named after Sir Charles Sounders , Cape Saunders and also mentioned the large colonies of fur seals on the coast.

The first Europeans to set foot ashore on the Otago coast were seal and whale hunters who came over from Australia to hunt around 1809. The seal hunter John Boultbee was the first to document the settlements around Otago Harbor in the 1820s . In 1831 the Weller brothers came from Sydney and opened a whaling station in Otago Harbor . Even after its bankruptcy in 1841, seal and whaling continued until around 1848. With the landing of the first Scottish settlers, the year 1848 can be assumed as the turning point from the whaling season to organized settlement.

City foundation

Dunedin City Hall and St Paul's Cathedral

In the late autumn of 1848 the first 347 Scottish settlers, led by Reverend Thomas Burns and Captain William Cargill , arrived in Port Chalmers , named after the mathematician , professor of moral philosophy and leader of the Free Church of Scotland , Thomas Chalmers . Their goal was the creation of New Edinburgh . They came in two ships, John Wickliffe and Philip Laing , fully loaded with everything needed for the first settlement.

After the Free Church of Scotland split off from the Church of Scotland in the so-called "disruption" in Scotland , there was a strong urge to build something new in a new country and to be able to live more freely. In 1843 a third of the faithful left the traditional Church of Scotland . In addition, there were Scottish emigrants who, for economic reasons, wanted to make a fresh start in agriculture and cattle breeding in the "promised land".

On April 26, 1844, Frederick Tuckett landed in Deborah Bay in Otago Harbor , with the New Zealand Company's order to find a suitable location for the settlement and foundation of the city. In July he bought 162 hectares of land, the so-called Otago Block, from the Māori . This stretched from the northern tip of the Otago Peninsula to 50 miles south to Nugget Point just beyond the mouth of the Clutha River . On February 23, 1846, Charles Henry Kettle came and made plans for the founding of Port Chalmers and for the settlement of Dunedin at the end of Otago Harbor . The settlement could now begin.

There are hardly any published figures on population growth during this period. However, Dunedin quickly became the largest and most important city in the south and in 1852 the capital of the province of Otago .

Once the richest city in New Zealand

University of Otago

It was the Australian Thomas Gabriel Read , whose gold discovery triggered the 1861 gold rush in Otago . In August, more than 2000  gold prospectors were digging for the precious metal in Gabriels Gully (Gabriel's excavation) in Otago . Since all prospectors had to travel via Dunedin , the city suddenly developed into a trading center for all goods and thus became the warehouse manager of the prospectors. People came from all over the world. Since gold prospectors were already active in Australia , most of them came over to Otago from there . Over the next six years, over 50,000 people came from Australia alone to make their fortune. Dunedin became New Zealand's most important trading center and the arrival, departure and stopping point for many travelers. According to a police census in August 1864, Dunedin already had 15,790 inhabitants. The city's administration knew how to make money from the boom , whereas the city's development itself was not up to the onslaught. Many people lived in the smallest of spaces or even in tents. The streets and paths, the garbage disposal and the hygienic conditions were catastrophic. " It is a dirty, muddy city with the worst-made streets ... " (It is a dirty, muddy city ​​with the worst-made streets ... ) was published at the time by a visitor to Dunedin in Melbourne , Australia.

The first local election in Dunedin was held on July 22, 1865. Of 3760 eligible voters only 1064 gave their vote. On August 5, 1865 joined Board (Board) together for the first time. This formed the first Dunedin City Council and Dunedin was the first city in New Zealand to be self-governing. New Zealand's first newspaper, the Otago Daily Times , was founded when the gold rush began and first appeared on November 15, 1861.

In 1869 the University of Otago was founded in Dunedin as the first university in New Zealand . The first year of study started in 1871 with only three professors and 81 students. As the first university in the entire British Empire , women were also admitted to all subjects. In September 1878 the railway line Christchurch - Dunedin was put into operation, in 1880 the Victorian- style town hall was inaugurated, which still exists today in a slightly modified form.

In 1882, the first cable car ( cable car ) was built in Dunedin, modeled on the one from San Francisco up to the Roslyn district , making it the first on the southern part of the globe . In the same year, frozen meat was transported by ship for the first time in the world, from Port Chalmers to England . In 1900 the first cars came to Dunedin . Most were imported from the USA . They were bigger and had more headroom for the hat-wearing people.

Dunedin Railway Station

In 1906 the Flemish- style train station was opened . The building has become a symbol of Dunedin as arguably the most photographed historical building in New Zealand next to the old university .

The period from the gold rush to the turn of the century was Dunedin's most successful years . Important political decisions led to far-reaching changes and economic and social growth. The city became the most important economic and cultural center of the country. The largest New Zealand companies had their headquarters here. Dunedin had become the largest and richest city in the country.

The economic collapse of the city came with the technical change at the turn of the century in the 20th century and was due to the lack of commitment of the city's economic elite. Many of the wealthy residents retired or returned to Australia or England. With the economic growth of the North Island could Dunedin not keep up. Companies important to the region such as Fletcher Building (then still called Fletcher Holdings Group ) moved their headquarters to Auckland . With the beginning of the Great Depression of 1929 , Dunedin lost further economic importance.


Dunedin is the fifth largest city in the country according to its population, but is politically, economically and culturally the fourth most important city in New Zealand after Auckland , Wellington and Christchurch and is also the capital of the Otago region . Like every big city, Dunedin tries to score with its image ; it wants to be "the friendliest city" in New Zealand. The aim of the slogan “ I am Dunedin ” is to generate identity and self-confidence and to give the city a new, greater meaning with stringent marketing .

Dunedin's oldest and most important industry is education. Once the largest and richest city in the country, Dunedin had the first university in the country and published the first daily newspaper, the Otago Daily Times . With the University of Otago , the city's largest and most important employer, and its various high schools and colleges , the city hosts around 25,000 students from all educational institutions annually. The well-paying international students bring plenty of money to the city's coffers. After education, forestry and agriculture rank second and third. The port of Port Chalmers has gained further importance and the fashion industry is seen as the newest, most promising branch of the economy. There is no large-scale manufacturing industry. For it is the tourism on the list of growing industries.

Despite all efforts to get Dunedin back to the top economically, the city is still at the lower end of the scale in terms of the average gross income of its citizens compared to all other cities and regions.


Population development

Of the city's 120,249 inhabitants, 8,865 people were of Māori origin in 2013 (7.4%). This means that 1.5% of the country's Māori population lived in the city. The median income for the population in 2013 was NZ $ 23,300  , compared to NZ $ 28,500 national average.

Origin and languages

When asked about ethnic group membership in the 2013 census, 88.3% said they were European, 7.7% said they had Māori roots, 2.5% came from the islands of the Pacific and 6.2 % came from Asia (multiple answers were possible). 18.1% of the population said they were born overseas. 1.8% of the population spoke French as a second foreign language after English. The Maori language was spoken by 15% of the Māori .



As an independent Territorial Authority , the city has its own City Council , called Dunedin City Council .

Dunedin City is not divided into wards like other New Zealand cities and districts . Fourteen Councilors (council members) together with the Mayor (mayor) form the City Council . The mayor and council members are re-elected every three years.

Town twinning



Road traffic

In terms of traffic, Dunedin is connected by New Zealand State Highway 1 , which , coming from the southwest as the Southern Scenic Route , connects the city with Invercargill in the south and further north with Christchurch .

Rail transport

Taieri Gorge Railway

In the history of New Zealand's rail transport, the city was of central importance for decades, but it has steadily decreased in the recent past. This is mainly due to the closure of the Otago Central Railway in 1990 and the suspension of passenger transport on the South Island Main Trunk Railway for reasons of economy , where the Southerner operated until February 2002 and thus established a connection with Christchurch in the north and Invercargill in the south .

The section of the old Otago Central Railway to Middlemarch is now used by the Taieri Gorge Railway , which runs through the Taieri River with numerous tunnels and viaducts and is primarily a tourist attraction. On the route of the Main South Line of the link between is except Dunedin and Palmerston on which the Seasider one commutes twice a week, currently only the freight moved regularly.

Air traffic

Flights to all major domestic airports and a few flights to and from Brisbane , Australia are handled via Dunedin Airport , which is located around 25 km west of the city center in the Taieri Plains .


The city's seaport, which connects Dunedin with all ports in the world, is at Port Chalmers , a district outside the city center. The port not only handles goods, but also serves as a pier for cruise ships through which tourists can visit the city and the hinterland.


Regent Theater , built in 1928

Dunedin is often portrayed as a Scottish city. If one believes the relevant publications and sees the celebration of Scottish music, Scottish dances and marches on given occasions as an expression of Scottish, one can certainly get this impression. But since the Otago Gold Rush at the latest , people of all nationalities and cultures came to Dunedin and Otago and left their unmistakable influence. Today Dunedin presents itself as a cosmopolitan and multicultural city.

Dunedin has two theaters, the Fortune Theater and the Regent Theater , a local television station ( Channel 9 ) and a radio station.

In the 1980s, a number of pop bands from the city created the Dunedin Sound , a special form of jangle pop in LoFi sound , which was distributed worldwide by the New Zealand label Flying Nun Records and mainly in the North American and Western European indie - Scene found his followers. The most famous bands of the Dunedin sound were The Chills , The Clean , The Verlaines , The Bats , the Sneaky Feelings , the Straitjacket Fits and the Tall Dwarfs .

Museums and galleries

Dunedin has many museums and galleries for a city of this size. The largest and most important museum, the Otago Museum, offers visitors an insight into the culture, geology and natural history of the region. In the Discovery World , which is attached to the museum, science is presented and made tangible especially for young people. Among other things, hundreds of exotic butterflies from Asia and Oceania can be seen flying around in a refuge modeled on the tropical rainforest .

The Otago Settlers Museum , a regional museum for settlement history and transportation, is dedicated to the time of the settlement of Dunedin and Otago.

The Dunedin Public Art Gallery has been collecting European art since the 15th century, as well as Japanese prints and works by New Zealand artists. Current exhibitions provide insights into the art scenes from overseas.


On June 17, 1922, the first international match of the New Zealand national football team took place in Dunedin . The national team has played five times in Dunedin , most recently on March 22, 2013 at Forsyth Barr Stadium in the World Cup qualification against New Caledonia . Dunedin is the southernmost city that has hosted an international football match to date.


Larnach Castle , Otago Peninsula, Dunedin , built in 1871
  • Larnach Castle , built in 1871, is often referred to as "New Zealand's only castle". It was built for his wife by the banker and politician William Larnach .
  • The oldest surviving church in Dunedin and the surrounding area is the First Church of Otago . The church was consecrated in 1873. Most tourists, however, are only familiar with St Paul's Cathedral, which is next to City Hall at the Octagon . In its current form, it was built between 1915 and 1919 after a previous building from 1863 had proven to be insufficiently stable and weatherproof.
  • The Roman Catholic St. Joseph's Cathedral in neo-Gothic style was consecrated in 1886 after a long construction period.
  • The Dunedin Railway Station is Dunedin's historic building that is on every visitor's program and has probably been photographed a million times. The prestigious building erected in 1906, which once a year becomes the catwalk for the largest fashion show in the region, today houses the operating rooms of the Taieri Gorge Railway , a restaurant, a gallery and the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame .
  • Cadburyworld is a tourable chocolate factory that caters primarily to children. The Speight’s breweryoperates a small museum and thus also offers an insight into its operations. Olveston was the home of a wealthy family from 1906 and can be visited on guided tours.
  • Dunedin is also known as the center of ecotourism . The only continental king albatross colony in the world at Taiaroa Head on the offshore Otago Peninsula is well worth seeing . The king albatrosses (scientifically Diomedea epomophora , in English Royal Albatross , on Māori Toroa ) reach a wingspan of up to over three meters.
  • Other attractions of the city are the fur seal and penguin colonies, including the rare yellow-eyed penguins (scientifically Megadyptes antipodes , in English Yellow-eyed penguin , in Māori Hoiho ). With a total population of only 4500 animals , these animals are considered threatened with extinction.
A house on Baldwin Street
  • Under the category “funny” Dunedin likes to showcase Baldwin Street in the north of the city, which until 2019 was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the steepest street in the world. Since the asphalt would slide off because of the steep gradient (ratio 1: 2.86 or 35%), the road was paved with concrete slabs. Once a year in February, the Baldwin Street Gutbuster Race with around 1000 mostly young competitors ensures great fun.


See also


  • Robert Gilkison : Early Days in Dunedin . Whitcombe and Tombs , Auckland 1938 (English). OCLC 17556201
  • David Johnson : Dunedin a pictoral history . Canterbury University Press , Christchurch 1993, ISBN 0-908812-33-7 (English).
  • Erik Olssen : A History of Otago . John McIndoe Ltd , Dunedin 1984, ISBN 0-86868-058-3 (English).
  • KC McDonald : City of Dunedin - a century of civic enterprise . Dunedin City Corporation , Dunedin 1965 (English). OCLC 10563910

Web links

Commons : Dunedin  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Dunedin  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e 2013 Census QuickStats about a place : Dunedin City - Population and dwellings . Statistics New Zealand , accessed August 3, 2016 .
  2. a b c d e f Dunedin City Council . In: Local Councils . Department of Internal Affairs , accessed August 3, 2016 .
  3. Topo250 maps . Land Information New Zealand , accessed August 3, 2016 .
  4. GR Macara : The Climate and Weather of Otago . In: NIWA Science and Technologies Series . 2nd Edition. Number 67 . National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research , 2015, ISSN 1173-0382 , p.   6, 16, 24, 31 (English, online PDF 2.7 MB [accessed July 24, 2016]).
  5. 2013 Census QuickStats about a place : Dunedin City - Cultural diversity . Statistics New Zealand , accessed August 3, 2016 .
  6. Mayor and Councilors . Dunedin City Council , accessed September 3, 2019 .
  7. Airline info . Dunedin Airport , accessed August 3, 2016 .
  8. Cruise Ships . Port Otago , accessed August 3, 2016 .
  9. ^ Gordon Parry : Heritage . First Church of Otago , accessed August 3, 2016 .
  10. ^ Gordon Parry : Our History . The Cathedral Church of Saint Paul the Apostle , accessed August 3, 2016 .