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Cheviot, New Zealand facts for kids

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A straight street, divided by painted lines, passing through a town. The street is lined by parked vehicles, trees and buildings. Two men dressed in t-shirts and short are crossing the road from left to right in the middle distance.
Hall St (State Highway 1), the main street of Cheviot
Country New Zealand
Region Canterbury
Territorial authority Hurunui District
Ward East Ward
 • Total 1.05 km2 (0.41 sq mi)
60 m (200 ft)
 (2018 census)
 • Total 372
 • Density 354.3/km2 (918/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+12 (New Zealand Standard Time)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+13 (New Zealand Daylight Time)
Area code(s) 03
Local iwi Ngāi Tahu

Cheviot is a town in the Hurunui District of north Canterbury, on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is located on State Highway 1, approximately 112 kilometres (70 mi) north of Christchurch and 68 kilometres (42 mi) south of Kaikōura.

History and naming

The government under Minister of Lands John McKenzie bought the Cheviot Hills estate from the descendants of William Robinson. The Cheviot Hills estate was broken into 54 farms and a township, which was originally called Mackenzie. This name was "in widespread use for a decade or two" but gradually fell into disuse. The post office was always known as Cheviot and by at least 1913 the township too was generally known as Cheviot. Cheviot Hills estate had been named by its original lease holder, John Scott Taverhill, after his home country, the Cheviot Hills straddling the Anglo-Scottish border.


Cheviot is defined by Statistics New Zealand as a rural settlement and covers 1.05 km2 (0.41 sq mi). It is part of the wider Parnassus statistical area.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1901 219 —    
2001 393 +0.59%
2006 390 −0.15%
2013 366 −0.90%
2018 372 +0.33%

Cheviot had a population of 372 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 6 people (1.6%) since the 2013 census, and a decrease of 18 people (-4.6%) since the 2006 census. There were 177 households. There were 183 males and 186 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.98 males per female, with 60 people (16.1%) aged under 15 years, 39 (10.5%) aged 15 to 29, 144 (38.7%) aged 30 to 64, and 129 (34.7%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 87.1% European/Pākehā, 21.8% Māori, 4.0% Pacific peoples, 2.4% Asian, and 0.8% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 45.2% had no religion, 40.3% were Christian, 0.8% were Muslim and 2.4% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 18 (5.8%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 93 (29.8%) people had no formal qualifications. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 108 (34.6%) people were employed full-time, 63 (20.2%) were part-time, and 9 (2.9%) were unemployed.

The region

Cheviot is a service town for highway traffic and for a pastoral farming district that is currently predominant in sheep farming. Based in the township are a volunteer fire and ambulance services and one full-time police officer. Surrounding settlements include:


Domett (pronounced Do-mett), originally a railway town, is now only populated by farms and a petrol station, with the Old Main Road/Hurunui River Mouth Road junction. Next to this junction is the old Domett Railway Station, relocated as a cafe. Domett Service Station provides after-hours sale of fuel (with surcharge): most service stations in the area close around 6pm.


Spotswood has an old hall that is still used regularly, and mainly consists of farms around Waiau East Road.


Parnassus is slightly larger than the others but the local Parnassus School has recently shut down. The famous Waiau River road/rail bridge was here, before being abandoned and replaced with a new road bridge. Prior to the opening of the old bridge in the 1930s a ferry across the river carried goods north and south. The Waiau River ends not far away however access to the river mouth must be made over farm property with the owner's permission. On the State Highway north of Parnassus is Leader Road which leads to the townships of Waiau, Rotherham, Culverden and Hanmer Springs.

Gore Bay

Gore Bay, 1874
Gore Bay in 1874, with the house behind the cabbage tree belonging to Eliza Robinson

Gore Bay is a surfing beach with summer beach houses and 14 permanent residents. There are two local camping grounds, each with beach access and business. It is a popular New Year's Eve venue.

Of note is Cathedral Gully, a spectacular weathered clay canyon.

Port Robinson

Once a prospering port, Port Robinson is now just a wreck. The old wharf may still be seen, but it is rather dangerous.

Stonyhurst Station

Stonyhurst is a farming station in the Blythe Valley, southwest of Cheviot.

It was founded in 1851 by Frederick Weld and Charles Clifford. He had gained his impression when walking from Lyttelton to Flaxbourne, in Marlborough. Clifford landed sheep on the beach just south of the Blythe River which was later be going to be known as Stonyhurst Station, named after Stonyhurst College in England where they were both educated.

The farm originally occupied nearly 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres), the whole of the Blythe Valley. About 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) was sold in 1863, and a further 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) a decade later. In about 1900, much of the rest of the land was subdivided. The current station is about one tenth of the original area.

The area is described by the local authority as "a potentially significant natural area", and the manager's cottage is a Category II protected building under the Historic Places Act.


Cheviot Area School

Schooling in Cheviot commenced in 1894. The first school was the McKenzie School, where the A&P Showgrounds are today. The name changed to Cheviot School in 1931. From its inception, the school provided primary education up to Form Two. In 1937, it became the Cheviot District High School.

Cheviot Area School is a composite, co-educational school for Year 1 to 13 students. It also has a wider role providing continuing education, facilities and support for community groups. The closest main contributing school, Parnassus, a year 1-6 school, closed in 2008. It had a roll of 195 as of April 2023.

The large oak trees in the school grounds were planted to commemorate those former students who died in World War 2.

Cheviot Area School competes in the Canterbury Area Schools Association Festival sporting competition with schools in Akaroa, Amuri, Hawarden, Oxford, and Rangiora. It also takes part in international exchanges with schools in Japan and Canada.

The township has two preschools, Cheviot Learning Centre and The Tree Hut.

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