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]


Springfield is part of the Selwyn Electorate.[17] The Selwyn District Council provides local government services for Springfield.[18]



  1. "The Springfield Store and Cafe, dubbed NZ's rudest cafe, under offer". Stuff. 21 September 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  2. [email protected] @KurtBayerNZME, Kurt Bayer NZ Herald reporter based in Christchurch (1 July 2019). "Owners of NZ's 'rudest cafe' Springfield Store and Cafe in hiding". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  3. "'Rudest' cafe, Springfield Store & Cafe, under new ownership". Otago Daily Times Online News. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  4. "New Zealand's 'rudest' cafe gets new owners". Newshub. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  5. "Police visit 'rudest cafe in New Zealand' after multiple complaints". Newshub. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  6. Herald, Khalia Strong, NZ. "New Zealand's 'rudest' cafe under new ownership". ZB. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  7. "New Zealand's 'rudest cafe' facing closure – report". www.msn.com. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  8. "Could this be the worst cafe in the world? | Gene Marks". the Guardian. 5 July 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  9. "Police called over complaints about the café labelled New Zealand's rudest". au.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  10. Eleven, Beck (28 September 2009). "D'oh! Springfield's giant Simpsons doughnut gets toasted". The Press. Retrieved 22 November 2009. Doughnut on display in Springfield, New Zealand at Wikinews
  11. "New doughnut for Springfield". The Press. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  12. "Midland Rail Heritage Trust Website".
  13. Wilson, John (17 August 2015). "Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand". Te Ara.
  14. "Contracting firm saves Springfield homes after digging out raging water race". Stuff. 31 May 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  15. "Selwyn District Council". Selwyn District Council. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  16. "Four of New Zealand's most underrated ski towns". Stuff. 18 June 2021. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  17. "Selwyn Electorate Profile – New Zealand Parliament". www.parliament.nz. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  18. "Selwyn District Council". Selwyn District Council. Retrieved 13 October 2020.