Springfield, New Zealand

Springfield (until 1880 Kowai Pass) is a small town in the Selwyn District of Canterbury, in the South Island, of New Zealand. The Maori name for Springfield is Tawera. In 2001 it had a population of 219. At the foot of the Southern Alps, 65 kilometres (40 mi) west of Christchurch, Springfield is 9.7 km (7 minutes drive) to Sheffield. it is the most westerly town of the central Canterbury Plains. Springfield has a long association with the Midland railway line.

Springfield wakes up to several inches of snow
Coordinates: 43°20′S 171°55′E
CountryNew Zealand
Territorial authoritySelwyn District
Time zoneUTC+12 (New Zealand Standard Time)
  Summer (DST)UTC+13 (New Zealand Daylight Time)
Area code(s)03

Springfield is situated in the foothills, less than an hour from the center of Christchurch on State Highway 73 (The Great Alpine Highway). In 2019, the town gained unwanted attention in the national and international media when the Springfield Store and Café was dubbed the rudest café in New Zealand and the police visited offering customer service advice. It is now under new ownership.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

The town has a Gothic Revival architecture church dedicated to Saint Peter, designed by the architect Cyril Mountfort. It was the birthplace of Rewi Alley, notable for his work in China in the mid 20th century. There is an extensive memorial dedicated to him, located in a small reserve off the main road. It includes a large stone carving and a number of panels giving details of his life.

On 15 July 2007, a statue of a giant pink doughnut was erected to promote the upcoming movie, The Simpsons Movie. It was subsequently set alight and destroyed by an arsonist on 25 September 2009. A tyre painted pink was used as a substitute until it was replaced with a concrete version unveiled on 1 July 2012.[10][11]

In 2016 a new road was built next to Queen and King St with a link to Victoria St. The new street is called Princes Street and is also known as the Alpine View Estate.

Springfield is a significant stop on the TranzAlpine train journey across the Southern Alps on the Midland Line. The town also home to the Midland Rail Heritage Trust a rail preservation group that has established a base in the former NZR locomotive depot opposite the railway station.[12] The Springfield Hotel was a stop on the road west from Christchurch for horse-drawn coaches. When trains became the usual way to travel between Canterbury and the West Coast, the train station refreshment rooms were a popular stop. Water from the Kowai River, just beyond Springfield, was diverted in the 1870s to supply one of Canterbury's early systems of stock water races to the local farms.[13] As of 2021, the Mainline Steam Heritage Trust's Christchurch depot will be moving to the Midland Rail Heritage Trust's land and will build a new depot from there.

On 29 May 2021, Most of the township of Springfield was evacuated due to floods from continuous heavy rain. Bishops Gully, in the centre of the town overflowed as well as the water race. A number of properties were flooded[14][15]

Springfield is one of New Zealand's most underrated ski towns. It is located close to Porters Ski Area, Mount Cheeseman, Broken River, Temple Basin and Craigieburn ski fields.[16]