Otago (region)

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Otago region of
Māori: Ōtākou
Geographical location
Southland Otago Canterbury West Coast Nelson Tasman Marlborough Northland Auckland Council Waikato Gisborne Bay of Plenty Hawke’s Bay Taranaki Wellington Manawatu-WanganuiOtago in New Zealand.svg
About this picture
Location of the Otago region
Photo from Otago Region
Otago Harbor Lower Harbor.jpg
Otago Harbor with Port Chalmers , Quarantine and Goat Island , Portobello
Local authority
Country New Zealand
island South island
Local authority region
Council Otago Regional Council
Headquarters of the administration Dunedin
founding 1989
Telephone code +64 (0) 3
Website www.orc.govt.nz
Flag of Otago.svg
Coordinates 45 ° 55 ′  S , 170 ° 30 ′  E Coordinates: 45 ° 55 ′  S , 170 ° 30 ′  E
surface 31 209  km 2
Residents 202 467 (2013)
Population density 6.49 inhabitants per km 2
Statistical data
Public revenue NZ $ 34.3 million  (2015)
Public expenditure NZ $ 31.6 million  (2015)
Number of households 94 818 (2013)
Ø income NZ $ 26,300  (2013)
Māori population 7.1% (2013)
Greenstone Valley
Rock and Pillar Range
Bridge over the Manuherikia River (built in 1880 to transport gold)

The Otago Region is an administrative region on the South Island of New Zealand . In terms of area, it is the second largest region in the country. The regional council , known as the Otago Regional Council , is based in Dunedin .

Origin of name

Ōtākou is a small Māori settlement of the Ngāi Tahu at the end of the Otago Peninsula on the coast of Dunedin . From this name the Pākehā (the whites) formed the name Otago and so named the hinterland of the coast. The province formed in 1953 was later given this name, and after the provinces were dissolved and the regions formed, the present region was alsocalled Otago .


Geographical location

The Otago Region covers almost the entire central part of the southern half of the South Island of New Zealand with 31,209 km² of pure land. With 202,467 inhabitants in 2013, Otago is the region with the second highest population in the South Island after Canterbury . With 6.5 inhabitants per km², the region has the third highest population density in the southern part of New Zealand.

While the western half of the region is characterized by the eastern flanks and foothills of the New Zealand Alps , the greater part of the eastern half is determined by a highland between 500  m and 1000  m high, in which mountain ranges, hilly landscapes and plains alternate. The south of the region, on the other hand, is hilly with individual forest sections and merges into the low mountain range of the Catlins .

Four large lakes are located in western Otago , Lake Wakatipu , Lake Wanaka , Lake Hāwea and Lake Ohau . The Kakanui Mountains in the northeast and the Dunstan Mountains further west and the Garvie Mountains to the southwest are important mountain ranges . In the alpine regions fall The Remarkables , the Richardson Mountains and the Livingstone Mountains , all of which surround Lake Wakatipu . The largest and most important rivers in the region are the 200 km long Taieri River and the over 300 km long Clutha River .

The largest cities in the region are listed by population: Dunedin with around 120,250 inhabitants, Queenstown with around 12,150, Mosgiel with around 6700, Wanaka with around 6470, Alexandra with around 4800, Cromwell with around 4150, Balclutha with around 3900 and Milton with around 1900 inhabitants.


The climate in Otago is one of the most varied climatic regions in New Zealand. With the preferred westerly winds, the clouds rain down in the mountainous regions of the New Zealand Alps, bringing rainfall beyond 2000 mm per year to the far west of the region. On the leeward side of the mountains, rainfall is falling rapidly and in the highlands of Otago is between 400 and 800 mm per year, depending on the location. In the south towards the Catlins , the precipitation increases again up to 1400 mm.

The average daytime temperatures in summer are between 15 ° C and 22 ° C depending on the location, lower in the higher mountain regions of the west. In winter, on the other hand, the highlands of Otago are characterized by average daytime temperatures in the single-digit minus range, towards the east coast milder with temperatures between 2 ° C and 5 ° C. The average length of sunshine per year in the highlands is between 1900 and 2100 hours depending on the location, around 1600 hours on the coast in the south and around 1800 to 1900 hours on the northern coastal strip.


Before the first missionaries came in the 1820s, whale and seal hunters came over from Australia to try their luck on the coast here. Wellers Rock was a first settlement that was established in 1831 by the Wellers brothers from Sydney as a whaling base on the banks of Otago Harbor near the Māori settlement.

After 162 hectares of land, the so-called Otago Block , was bought off the Ngai Tahu by the British civil engineer and surveyor Frederick Tuckett on behalf of the New Zealand Company in July 1844, the first 347 Scottish settlers of the Free Church of began in late autumn 1848 Scotland the systematic settlement of the region and the founding of the city of Dunedin . In the early years of settlement, the Free Church of Scotland , which was now dependent on its own financial resources due to the bankruptcy of the New Zealand Company , first concentrated on the area of ​​what is now Dunedin . The province at that time still extended over the entire southern part of the island.

On December 26, 1848, at the request of the Scottish settlers, the then governor of the New Zealand colony , Sir George Edward Gray , gave the province the name Otago and in 1852 Dunedin officially became the provincial capital.

From 1861 the region with its capital Dunedin experienced a rapid economic boom. The gold discoveries made by the Australian gold prospector Thomas Gabriel Read near Lawrence changed the region from one day to the next. Numerous prospectors from California , Australia , Europe , North America and China were drawn to Otago .

It was the start of the Otago gold rush . Dunedin became the largest and richest city in the country, but only until shortly before the turn of the century .

Due to rivalries, on March 25, 1861, the southwestern part (today's Southland ) split off from what was then the province of Otago and set up its own administration. Ten years later, Southland Otago was again subordinated administratively. In 1876 the administration system at that time was reorganized and Otago was divided into several districts. Southland has been an independent region since then.


Population development

Of the 202,467 inhabitants of the region in 2013, 14.385 inhabitants were of Māori origin (7.1%). This means that 2.4% of the country's Māori population lived in the Otago region . The median income for the population in 2013 was NZ $ 26,300,  compared to NZ $ 28,500 national average.

Origin and languages

When asked about ethnic group membership in the 2013 census, 89.1% said they were European, 7.5% said they had Māori roots, 2.0% came from the islands of the Pacific and 5.2% % came from Asia (multiple answers were possible). 18.2% of the population said they were born overseas. 1.7% of the population spoke French as the second most common language after English. The Maori language was spoken by 13.4% of the Māori .


The Otago Region has a Board of Directors, called the Otago Regional Council , which is led by a Chairman . Twelve elected Councilors sit in the Council , representing a total of four so-called constituencies (constituencies). The following are the constituency of Dunedin with six councilors , the constituency of Dunstan with three, the constituency of Molyneux with two and the constituency of Moeraki with one councilor . The council members, who choose the chairman from their ranks, are re-elected every three years.

Furthermore, the region is divided into four districts and one city, each with its own council :

While the regional administration is responsible for the inland and coastal waters, for the ports, for land, air, erosion, disaster control, transport planning and regional development, the administrations of the districts are responsible for all other concerns of the citizens and the matters which are in a Local authority must be regulated.


The most important economic sectors are distributed quite differently in Otago . Where education, administration and tourism are the main sources of income in Dunedin , Otagos , sheep farming , forestry , agriculture and viticulture are the dominant economic sectors in the various regions . The exceptions to this are Queenstown , with the largest leisure and tourism offerings in summer and winter, and the small settlement Macraes Flat , which houses the Macraes Gold Mine, the largest and most successful gold mining area in New Zealand. The OceanaGold Corporation , which specializes in the mining of gold and copper and, in addition to the Macraes Gold Mine, also operates the gold mine in Reefton and the Didipio gold and copper mine in Kasibu in the Philippines , is one of the most important employers in the region become.

Coal mining played a major role in Otago from 1840 until the closure of the largest mine in Kaitangata in 1970 . In 2011 only 50,000 tons of coal were mined in the region for local needs.



Road traffic

The region is connected by the New Zealand State Highway 1 , which , coming from Invercargill , runs along the east coast through Dunedin further north to Christchurch . He branches southeast of Milton of State Highway 8 by Alexandra off to continue from there to the north lies the northern parts of the country the South Island with the region Otago connect to. Further west comes State Highway 6 from Invercargill and connects Queenstown and Wanaka . The State Highways 85 , 87 and 90 are cross-connections.

Rail transport

The South Island Main Trunk Railway connects Invercargill with Dunedin , Christchurch and the north of the South Island and runs along the east coast of the region. Only goods are transported over the connection.

Air traffic

About the Dunedin Airport , the region is connected to all regional airports in the country. Another important airport is Queenstown Airport , as it is mostly used to bring tourists to the touristically developed region around Queenstown .


The region is connected to all other ports in the country via the natural harbor of Otago Harbor and the port of Port Chalmers . Not only goods are transported via the port of Port Chalmers , there are also cruise ships that take tourists to Dunedin and the Otago region .


By far the most important place in Otago for leisure and sport is Queenstown and the surrounding area. Bungee jumping , rafting and paragliding in all variations are just a few of the many pleasure sports that annually attract around 1.7 million guests (2000) from all over the world. The downside of this tourism, however, shows itself in crime and drug consumption , with Queenstown in New Zealand now in second place in drug production behind Auckland .

See also


  • AH McLintoc : The History of Otago . Otago Centennial Historical Publications , Dunedin 1949 (English).
  • Erik Olssen : A History of Otago . John McIndoe Ltd. , Dunedin 1984, ISBN 0-86868-058-3 (English).
  • Neville Peat : Southern Land, Southern People - Otago Museum's Landmark Gallery . University of Otago Press , Dunedin 2002, ISBN 1-877276-16-2 (English).
  • OCEANA GOLD Ltd. (Ed.): Concise Annual Report 2006 . Melbourne 2006 (English).

Web links

Commons : Otago Region  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Otago  - travel guide
  • Homepage . Otago Regional Council,accessed July 24, 2016.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Thomas Ferens : Otago region - The Otago settlement . In: Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand . Ministry for Culture & Heritage , July 13, 2012, accessed July 24, 2016 .
  2. Malcolm McKinnon : Otago region - Otago Peninsula . In: Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand . Ministry for Culture & Heritage , December 17, 2012, accessed July 24, 2016 .
  3. a b 2013 Census QuickStats about a place : Otago Region - Population and dwellings . Statistics New Zealand , accessed July 24, 2016 .
  4. ^ A b Otago Regional Council . In: Local Councils . Department of Internal Affairs , accessed July 24, 2016 .
  5. a b c Topo250 maps . Land Information New Zealand , accessed July 24, 2016 .
  6. 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]).
  7. Peter Entwisle : Weller, Edward . In: Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand . Ministry for Culture & Heritage , October 30, 2012, accessed July 24, 2016 .
  8. 2013 Census QuickStats about a place : Otago Region - Cultural diversity . Statistics New Zealand , accessed July 24, 2016 .
  9. ^ Councilors . Otago Regional Council , accessed July 24, 2016 .
  10. Glossary . In: Local Councils . Department of Internal Affairs , accessed July 24, 2016 .
  11. ^ Industry History: Southland & Otago . Solid Energy , 2015, archived from the original on December 8, 2015 ; accessed on May 7, 2019 (English, original website no longer available).
  12. ^ Regional coal resources - Otago region . New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals , October 7, 2014, archived from the original on February 20, 2016 ; accessed on July 24, 2016 (English, original website no longer available).
  13. ^ Coal resources : Otago region . Ministry for Economic Development , August 5, 2011, archived from the original on July 26, 2014 ; accessed on May 7, 2019 (English, original website no longer available).