Waimate is located in New Zealand
Country New Zealand
Island South Island
District Waimate District
Regional Council Canterbury Regional Council
 • Mayor Craig Rowley[1]
Population (2006 census)
 • Urban area 2,835
Website //Waimate.nz.govt.waimatedcwww

Waimate is a town and part of the Waimate District in the South Island of New Zealand. It is 45.7 km south of Timaru in south Canterbury, 20 km north of the Waitaki River.

The population of Waimate District at the 2006 census was 7,206 people. Waimate has the fewest Maori people per district in New Zealand. It has an area of 3,582.19 square kilometres .

Waimate is well-known locally for its population of Bennett's wallabies. These marsupials were introduced from Australia and now live in the wild in the countryside surrounding the town.


From 1877 until 1966, Waimate was served by the Waimate Branch, a branch line railway that connected with the Main South Line some seven kilometres east in Studholme. For roughly seventy years ending in 1953, the line ran beyond Waimate to Waihao Downs. When the branch line was closed on 31 March 1966, Waimate became the first major town in New Zealand to lose its railway connection.


The Waimate District is bounded by the Waitaki River in the south, the Pareora River in the north and the Hakataramea Valley to the west. The district is a very productive agricultural area with a mix of pastoral, cropping, dairy farming, fruit and vegetable growing.

The Waihao River, which starts in the Hunter Hills catchment area runs eastwards on the southern side of the Waimate township joining with the Waimate Creek. They both eventually end up discharging very close to the sea into the Wainono Dead Arm, which then flows into the Wainono Lagoon near Studholme.

Rural communities

Panorama of the view from the White Horse overlooking Waimate township.


Like much of rural New Zealand, Waimate suffered from an economic downturn in the 1980s, with the closure of the dairy factory and a number of sawmills. For the last decade of the 20th century the biggest employers in the district were two furniture manufacturers, a vegetable processing plant and a factory making French fries and other potato products at Makikihi. All but the latter closed within the first few years of the 21st century. However, a newly developed large scale sawmill and the development of a large milk powder factory, coupled with the wealth of dairy farms and the nationwide real estate bubble of 2003-2007, saw a renewed confidence in Waimate.

Photo of a sunset over the hills to the south of Waimate, taken from near the town centre.


Just off the main street is a statue of Zealandia (personification) a female allegorical representation of New Zealand in much the same way as Britannia represents Great Britain. Only two Zealandia statues exist in the whole country; the other is at Palmerston, Otago. Both were erected as Boer War memorials.


Further Information: List of schools in Canterbury, New Zealand

Notable people from Waimate

Notable places

  • St. Augustine's Anglican Church, located on John Street in Waimate, was designed in 1872 by Benjamin Mountfort.
  • St Patrick's Catholic Church, located on Timaru Rd was designed in 1908 by Frank Petre.
  • Waimate Museum, located in Shearman St, was designed in 1878 by P.M.F. Burrows
  • Waimate White Horse




  • Waimate Golf Club[6]


  • Every year the University of Otago and University of Canterbury hold the Debating tournament known as Claytons. It is a debating tournament for beginning debaters and first years at the respective Universities. It was previously held annually either in Christchurch or Waimate, but has in recent years been held solely in Waimate.


Movies and film

Sister cities


  1. ^ http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/9276516/Waimate-picks-Craig-Rowley-for-mayor
  2. ^ http://www.makikihi.school.nz/
  3. ^ http://www.waimate-high.school.nz/
  4. ^ http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/cruikshanks-margaret-barnet/1
  5. ^ http://www.sportsground.co.nz/waimaterugby
  6. ^ http://www.waimategolf.co.nz/
  7. ^ The Waimate Conspiracy at the Internet Movie Database

External links

  • Waimate District Council promotional site.
  • An Encyclopedia of New Zealand 1966: Waimate
  • Churches of Waimate.
  • Unofficial Waimate site - pictures and links.
  • Waimate Winter Show.
  • Waimate High School
  • Bushtown Waimate Incorporated.
  • Waimate Museum
  • March Hare Motorcycle Rally
  • Makikihi School