Lumsden, New Zealand

Lumsden (Māori: Oreti) is a town in Southland, New Zealand. Lying in a gap in the surrounding hills, Lumsden is the location of a major junction on state highway six. Lumsden is 81 kilometres north of Invercargill, 106 kilometres south of Queenstown, 59 kilometres west of Gore and 77 kilometres east of Te Anau. The town had a population of 405 at the 2013 census.[1]


Oreti (Māori)
Lumsden - February 2020
Coordinates: 45°44′S 168°27′E
Country New Zealand
IslandSouth Island
RegionSouthland region
Territorial authoritySouthland District
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s)03
Local iwiNgāi Tahu


Originally the district in general was known as The Elbow. When this name was given to the then new railway station, residents of Castlerock, then also known as The Elbow and on the opposite bank of the Oreti River, brought the matter to George Lumsden of the Otago Provincial Council. He referred that matter to the Railways Department who, in the absence of any other suggestion, chose the name Lumsden for the town.[2]

In 2017, it was suggested that Lumsden is becoming a satellite town on Queenstown. It was much cheaper to buy or rent a house in Lumsden and then work in Queenstown where wages are potentially higher.[3]


Lumsden also used to be a major railway junction with lines departing to all four points of the compass. The Kingston Branch from Invercargill ran north–south through the town, while to the west was the Mossburn Branch and to the east was the Waimea Plains Railway that connected with the Main South Line in Gore. In 1971, most of the Waimea Plains Railway closed, but sixteen kilometres from Lumsden to Balfour remained open until 1978. In 1979, the line north to Kingston was closed after repairs to flood damage would not have been economic, and both the Mossburn Branch and the connection south to Invercargill closed in December 1982. The railway station is now preserved as a tourist information centre. The Lumsden Heritage Trust has displayed the chassis of New Zealand Railways steam locomotive P 60 at the town's southern entrance, as well as two unrestored locomotives, V 126 and V 127, two Drewry diesel shunters and three wagons by the old station, to commemorate its former prominent status in New Zealand's national rail network.


Lumsden has both a primary and a secondary school (Northern Southland College).

Born in Lumsden

  • Cathy Baker (16 October 1957), New Zealand field-hockey player
  • Bill English (30 December 1961), New Zealand Prime Minister (2016–2017)
  • Daryl Gibson (2 March 1975), New Zealand rugby-union player and coach


  1. "Stats NZ archive website | Stats NZ". Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  2. Hamilton, G.A. History of Northern Southland. The Southland Times Company Ltd., Invercargill, 1952, reprinted 1971.
  3. "Lumsden a 'satellite town' for Queenstown 100km away, commuters say". Stuff. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2021.