Ashburton, New Zealand
Ashburton (Māori: Hakatere) is a large town in the Canterbury Region, on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The town is the seat of the Ashburton District. It is 85 kilometres (53 mi) south west of Christchurch and is sometimes regarded as a satellite town of Christchurch.
Aerial view of Ashburton, looking west. The Ashburton River/Hakatere is visible at left.
|District||Ashburton District Council|
Te Tai Tonga (Māori)
|• Mayor||Neil Brown|
|• Deputy Mayor||Liz McMillan|
|• Territorial||6,187.40 km2 (2,388.97 sq mi)|
|• Density||5.7/km2 (15/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+12 (NZST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+13 (NZDT)|
|Local iwi||Ngāi Tahu|
|Website||Ashburton District Council|
Ashburton township has a population of 20,200. The town is the 29th-largest urban area in New Zealand and the fourth-largest urban area in the Canterbury Region, after Christchurch, Timaru and Rolleston. "Ashvegas", Ashburton's common nickname, is an ironic allusion to Las Vegas.
In 1858 William Turton, ran a ferry across the Ashburton river close to where the Ashburton bridge now lies. He also built an accommodation house. By 1864 the horse drawn coaches of the Cobb and Co. business travelled through Ashburton between Christchurch and Timaru. This continued until the railway line was built.
Ashburton was designated as a borough in 1878. At this stage, there were about 500 buildings within the borough. Netherby was added in 1917, Hampstead in 1921, and Allenton in 1939 to the borough of Ashburton. In 1955, Tinwald was added to the borough.
Ashburton was used as a training base for the airforce during world war 2 with 50 tiger moth aircraft based there.
Ashburton is located 86 kilometres (53 mi) south of Christchurch and 75 kilometres north of Timaru. Methven lies 33 kilometres inland from Ashburton. Rakaia and the Rakaia river sit 28 kilometres to the north of Ashburton.
The town is the centre of an agricultural and pastoral farming district, part of the Canterbury Plains. It has one large suburb, Tinwald, south of the Ashburton River / Hakatere. The town has three other suburbs: Allenton, Hampstead and Netherby.
The Main South Line railway line runs through the centre of town. The station opened on 24 August 1874 and the refreshment room was converted from table- to counter-service to save staff and speed service in 1944. The rooms closed in 1970, when the Southerner train started. That train ceased on 10 February 2002, but some barley continues to be sent by train to maltings at Marton. A container terminal is open on weekdays. The station was demolished in 2013 after several resource consent hearings.
Tinwald was the junction for the now-closed Mount Somers Branch railway line. Tinwald opened as Ashburton South on 31 May 1875. It was renamed from 18 March 1878 and closed before 1993 to passengers and on 11 October 1981 to all but private siding traffic. Part of the branch still operates as the Plains Vintage Railway.
State Highway 1 runs through the centre of Ashburton crossing the Ashburton river and is the main road connection between Christchurch and Dunedin. The Ashburton road bridge was damaged by extensive flooding at the end of May 2021. This resulted in the northern end of the bridge slumping 13cm.
The 90 year old bridge is the only route across the Ashburton river for local traffic and State Highway 1 traffic. The Ashburton District Council has been trying to obtain funding from Waka Kotahi (New Zealand Transport Agency) for a second bridge to divert local traffic on to and provide more resilience to the road network. In 2021, the additional bridge was planned to be built in 15 years time.
On the whole, Ashburton shares a similar climate to Christchurch i.e. a dry temperate climate (Cfb). However, since it lies further inland at a higher altitude to Christchurch, Ashburton experiences a greater range of temperatures. During summer Ashburton can exceed 30 °C (86 °F), whilst winter can see regular frosts and annual snowfall. Ashburton's heaviest snowfall was 38 centimetres (15 in) on 12 June 2006, conversely it is tied with Timaru for New Zealand's fourth-highest temperature on record, reaching 41.3 °C (106.3 °F) on 7 February 1973.
|Climate data for Ashburton|
|Average high °C (°F)||23.7
|Average low °C (°F)||11.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||58.5
|Source: NIWA Science climate data|
The Ashburton urban area had a usual resident population of 19,284 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 1,395 people (7.8%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 3,093 people (19.1%) since the 2006 census.
In 2018, there were 9,537 males and 9,750 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.98 males per female. Of the total population, 3,639 people (18.9%) were aged up to 15 years, 3,330 (17.3%) were 15 to 29, 7,974 (41.4%) were 30 to 64, and 4,341 (22.5%) were 65 or older.
In terms of ethnicity, 82.9% were European/Pākehā, 9.1% were Māori, 7.7% were Pacific peoples, 5.8% were Asian, and 1.7% were other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).
The Ashburton District Council has a 40% holding in the company that manages the Rangitata Diversion Race. This scheme diverts water from the Rangitata and South Ashburton rivers into a canal that provides irrigation to large parts of the district.
In 2012, Ashburton was noted for having more cooperative companies operating in its district than in any other area of New Zealand, and was subsequently named by the New Zealand Cooperatives Association the "Cooperative Capital of New Zealand". Several of the 40-plus companies are national companies based outside the district, such as Fonterra, Foodstuffs and Silver Fern Farms (meat processing), but many were local cooperatives, such as the Ashburton Trading Society (farm supplies) and Electricity Ashburton (electricity distribution).
Ashburton media includes the Ashburton Guardian daily newspaper, the Mid Canterbury Herald, a free weekly community newspaper owned by Fairfax Media which comes out every Wednesday, The Courier, another free weekly community newspaper owned by the Otago Daily Times, and the Mid Canterbury-focused AshburtonOnline website. Radio Port FM is based in Timaru; Newstalk ZB and Classic Hits ZEFM are re-broadcast from other out-of-town stations.
Ashburton Hospital is a 74 bed hospital based at 28 Elizabeth Street, Ashburton. The hospital provides medical, surgical, radiology and maternity care. It admits about 5,000 inpatients each year as well as seeing 2,600 day patients and 15,000 outpatients. It is run by Canterbury District Health Board and the rural health service employed approximately 550 staff in 2021.
The Ashburton Domain sits in the centre of Ashburton next to state highway 1. At 37 hectares in size, it includes public gardens, cricket pitches, football fields, tennis courts, bowls club and a croquet club. A playground and paddling pool also have been built in the domain.
A new aquatic centre was opened in Ashburton in May 2015. There are four indoor swimming pools within an 8000 square metre building. There are also four indoor courts and two outdoor courts and a gym. The facility is operated by the Ashburton District Council. The facility cost $30 million to develop and was designed by architects Warren & Mahoney.
Museum and Art Gallery
The Ashburton Museum and Art Gallery share one building, which sits on State Highway 1, just outside the centre of town. As well as temporary exhibitions, the museum has a permanent exhibition tracing the history of the Ashburton district.
When the art gallery opened in 2015, it was unable to display any art works on the walls as the new air-conditioning unit, being delivered from Italy had not arrived. The 2700 art works in the collection had to remain in storage.
Ashburton Aviation Museum
The Ashburton Aviation Museum is located at the Ashburton Airport. The museum has two buildings which display over twenty-five aircraft. These include a Skyhawk formerly used by the New Zealand Air Force, A Vampire FB5 and a Canberra B2 Bomber. The collection also includes the only British Aerospace HS Harrier "Jump-jet" GR3 in the southern hemisphere.
Ashburton is home to two golf courses. The Ashburton Golf Course is an 18 hole golf course which was established in 1895. The Tinwald Golf Club has an 18 hole course in the suburb of TInwald. It was built in 1967.
The Ashburton Club and Mutual School of Arts (MSA) was founded in 1885. The MSA is a member of the NZ Chartered Clubs Association and is located in the central town. The club itself currently has around 4,000 members on its records.
Mountain bike trails
The Ashburton Raceway is a horse racing venue that includes both a 1500 metre long trotting track and an 1800 metre long galloping track. There is also a Harness Racing Museum located at the racecourse. The racecourse is located off State Highway 1 at the northern end of Ashburton.
The Ashburton Speedway provides a race track for a number of categories of cars including stockcars, production saloon cars and street stocks. They also run a demolition derby once a year. The Ashburton Speedway is located next to Ashburton Airport on Seafield road.
Rivers and lakes
In part to rectify the limitations imposed by the lack of recreational waterways, Lake Hood was constructed just south-east of Tinwald. The Ashburton lakes Lake Heron, Lake Camp and Lake Clearwater are inland. On the road to these lakes are Mount Somers and the Mount Somers walkway.
- Allenton School is a state contributing primary (Year 1–6) school. It has a roll of 385 students.
- Ashburton Borough School is a state full primary (Year 1–8) school. It has a roll of 328 students.
- Ashburton Christian School is a state-integrated evangelical Christian composite (Year 1–13) school. The school opened in February 2009 as a private school, and integrated into the state system in March 2011. It has a roll of 167 students.
- Ashburton College is a state secondary (Year 9–13) school. The school opened in 1965 following the merger of Ashburton High School and Hakatere College. It has a roll of 1245 students.
- Ashburton Intermediate School is a state intermediate (Year 7–8) school. The school opened in 1974. It has a roll of 418 students.
- Ashburton Netherby School is a state contributing primary school. The school opened in 1959. It has a roll of 151 students.
- Fairton School is a state contributing primary school. It has a roll of 19 students.
- Hampstead School is a state contributing primary school. It has a roll of 339 students.
- St Joseph's School is a state-integrated Catholic full primary school. It has a roll of 240 students.
- Tinwald School is a state contributing primary school. It has a roll of 217 students.
- Wakanui School is a state full primary school. It has a roll of 108 students.
Prominent residents have included the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jenny Shipley, international operatic tenor Simon O'Neill, Olympic silver medal cyclist Hayden Roulston and New Zealand television and radio personalities Simon Barnett and Robyn Malcolm.
Rugby union player Chris King was born in Ashburton.
John Grigg was a local landowner and Member of Parliament in the mid 19th century.
Dorothy Eden, a prolific novelist, grew up in Ashburton.
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We are close enough to be considered a satellite town.
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