Dunedin New Zealand Information

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Updated: 1st Feb 2005

Urban Area Population 113,600
Extent Dunedin, Mosgiel,
Port Chalmers
Name Dunedin City
Population 121,100
Land area 3314.8km²
Extent urban area, and out as
far as Middlemarch,
Waikouaiti and the
Taieri River
Name Otago

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, located in coastal Otago. Known in Maori as Otepoti, the city stands on the hills and valleys surrounding the head of Otago Harbour. The harbour and hills are the remnants of an extinct volcano. Dunedin is the home of the University of Otago.


The Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland founded Dunedin in 1848 as a Scottish settlement. The town's name comes from Dun Eideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. The University of Otago, the oldest university in New Zealand, was founded in Dunedin in 1869. Dunedin became wealthy during the Central Otago goldrush which began at Gabriel's_Gully near Lawrence in 1861. Between 1881 and 1957, Dunedin was home to the Dunedin cable trams, being both one of the first and last such systems operated anywhere in the world. During the 20th century, influence and activity moved north to the other centres ("the drift north"), but by the end of the century Dunedin had re-established its identity as a centre of excellence in tertiary education and research.

Modern Dunedin

Dunedin has flourishing niche industries including engineering, software engineering, bio-technology and fashion. Port Chalmers on Otago Harbour provides Dunedin with deep-water port facilities.

Dunedin Railway Station

The cityscape glitters with gems of Victorian and Edwardian architecture including Larnach Castle, Olveston, First Church, and the magnificent Railway Station. Other not-to-be missed attractions include the world's steepest street (Baldwin Street), the famous Captain Cook tavern, and the local Speight's brewery. Tourists and students alike appreciate tours of the Cadbury chocolate factory.

Dunedin is also notable now as centre for ecotourism. Uniquely, the world's only mainland royal albatross colony and several penguin and seal colonies lie within the city boundaries on Otago Peninsula. To the south of Dunedin, located on the western side of Lake Waihola, lie the Sinclair Wetlands.

The thriving tertiary student population has led to Dunedin having a vibrant youth culture, which came to prominence with the "Dunedin Sound" rock bands of the 1980s (such as The Chills, The Clean, Straitjacket Fits, and The Verlaines), and more recently a burgeoning boutique fashion industry. A very strong visual arts community lives in Dunedin and its environs.

Sports are catered for in Dunedin by the floodlit rugby and cricket venue of Carisbrook, a soccer and athletics stadium at Logan Park, close to the University, and numerous golf courses and parks. There is also a horseracing circuit in the south of the city. St. Clair Beach, on the city's Pacific shore, is a well-known surfing venue.

The climate is moderate. Winter can be frosty, but significant snowfall is uncommon (perhaps every two or three years). Spring can feature "four seasons in a day" weather, but from November to April it is generally settled and mild.

Dunedin features the world's most southern motorway: this 10km divided highway section of State Highway One (SH1) runs from the centre of the city to the southern suburb of Mosgiel.


Dunedin City has a land area of 3314.8 km2, about 10% larger than Cambridgeshire, England, and a little smaller than Cornwall. It is the largest city in land area in New Zealand. The Dunedin City Council boundaries since 1989 have extended to Middlemarch in the west, Waikouaiti in the north, the Pacific Ocean in the east and south-east, and Henley and Taieri Mouth in the south-west.

Dunedin is also home to Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, with a slope of 1:2.9 (i.e. for every 2.9 m horizontally the street rises 1 m). The long-since abandoned Maryhill Cablecar route had a similar gradient close to its Mornington depot. The Dunedin skyline is dominated by a ring of hills which form the remnants of a volcanic crater. Notable among these hills are Mt. Cargill (700 m), Flagstaff (680 m), Saddle Hill (480 m), and Harbour Cone (320 m).

List of Dunedin suburbs

Inner suburbs

(clockwise from the city centre, starting at due north)

Woodhaugh; Dalmore; Pine Hill; Dunedin North; North East Valley; Opoho; Ravensbourne; Highcliff; Vauxhall; Waverley; Shiel Hill; Anderson's Bay; Tainui; Musselburgh; South Dunedin; St. Kilda; St. Clair; Corstorphine; Kew; Forbury; Caversham; Maryhill; Mornington; Brockville; Halfway Bush; Roslyn; Wakari; Maori Hill; Glenleith.

Outer suburbs

(clockwise from the city centre, starting at due north)

St. Leonards; Broad Bay; Macandrew Bay; Waldronville; Green Island; Abbotsford; Fairfield.

Towns within Dunedin City limits

(clockwise from the city centre, starting at due north)

Waitati; Warrington; Waikouaiti; Karitane; Purakanui, Port Chalmers; Sawyers Bay, Otakou; Portobello; Brighton; Taieri Mouth; Henley; Allanton; East Taieri; Momona, Mosgiel; Outram; Middlemarch.

180º view of Dunedin shot from the hills on the west. Mount Cargill is at the extreme left of picture, and the Otago Peninsula is beyond the harbour to the centre.

Noted inhabitants

The Arts

  • Thomas Bracken (21 December 1843 -- 16 February 1898), the noted late-19th century poet who wrote the New Zealand National Anthem and who was the first person to publish the phrase "God's Own Country".
  • Illustrator and engraver John Buckland Wright.
  • Maori sculptor Carissa Proffit (b 1974), who works in Oamaru stone.
  • Nobel Prize short-listee Janet Frame, born there in 1924, died there in 2004: NZ Edge biography (http://www.nzedge.com/heroes/frame.html)
  • Writer James K. Baxter was born in Dunedin in 1926 and wrote many of his plays there in the '60s in association with Rosalie and Patric Carey's Globe Theatre.
  • Cartoonist David Low lived in Dunedin before making his fame in London.
  • Maori painter Ralph Hotere lives and works in Port Chalmers.
  • Painters Grahame Sydney and Jeffrey Harris both live in Dunedin.
  • Actor Sam Neill has close associations with Dunedin.
  • Playwright Roger Hall lived and wrote in Dunedin for several years.
  • Many of New Zealand's top bands of the 1980s and early 1990s started out in Dunedin, establishing the Dunedin_Sound.

Politics and business

  • A large proportion of the country's leading companies in and beyond the 20th century originated in Dunedin. A selection of relevant company or brand names includes Arthur Barnett, Donaghy, Fletcher, Fulton Hogan, Hallenstein, Methven, Mosgiel, NZI, Ravensdown, Whitcoulls, and Wrightson.
  • The Bell Tea Company was founded here in 1898 and still has one of its factories in Hope Street.
  • Deputy Prime Minister (since 1999) Michael Cullen was Member of Parliament for the Dunedin electorate of St. Kilda from 1981 until the early 1990s.


  • Tramway and mining engineer George Smith Duncan was born in Dunedin in 1852, attended the University of Otago and was instrumental in building the
  • Dunedin cable tramway system.
  • Two of the founders of modern plastic surgery, Harold Gillies and Archibald McIndoe were born in Dunedin in 1882 and 1900 respectively.
  • Popular e-mail program Pegasus Mail was written by David Harris while he was employed by the University of Otago.


  • World record-breaking middle-distance athlete Jack Lovelock lived in the city, as did Olympic champions long jumper Yvette (Corlett) Williams and swimmer Danyon Loader.
  • Other sporting celebrities to have lived in Dunedin include cricketers Glenn Turner and Clarrie Grimmett, netballer Lois Muir, yachtsman Russell Coutts and double international (cricket and rugby) Jeff Wilson.


Annual Events

  • January - Whare Flat Folk Festival (http://www.whareflat.co.nz/)
  • February - University of Otago Orientation Week
  • February - Dunedin Festival
  • July - Gay Pride Month
  • September - Samstock Music Festival
  • October - Otago Festival of the Arts (http://www.otagofestival.co.nz/) (and Fringe Festival) - every second year
  • October - Rhododendron Week
  • December - Santa Parade

Past Events

  • 1865 - New Zealand Exhibition (1865)
  • 1889 - New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition (1889)
  • 1898 - Otago Jubilee Industrial Exhibition (1898)
  • 1925 - New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition (1925)
  • 1948 - Centennial celebrations

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