Invercargill facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Invercargill
Waihōpai (Māori)
Spring in Esk Street, Invercargill
Spring in Esk Street, Invercargill
Invercargill City's location within the South Island
Invercargill City's location within the South Island
Country  New Zealand
Island South Island
Region Southland
Territorial authority Invercargill City
Settled by Europeans 1853
Area
 • Territorial 389 km2 (150 sq mi)
 • Urban 115 km2 (44 sq mi)
Population (June 2016)
 • Territorial 54,700
 • Density 140.62/km2 (364.2/sq mi)
 • Urban 50,700
 • Urban density 440.9/km2 (1,142/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Invercargillite
Time zone NZST (UTC+12)
 • Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13)
Postcode(s) 9810, 9812
Area code(s) 03
Website icc.govt.nz

Invercargill (Māori: Waihōpai) is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. It is the commercial centre of the Southland region. It lies in the heart of the wide expanse of the Southland Plains on the Oreti or New River some 18 km north of Bluff, which is the southernmost town in the South Island. It sits amid rich farmland that is bordered by large areas of conservation land and marine reserves, including Fiordland National Park covering the south-west corner of the South Island and the Catlins coastal region.

Many streets in the city, especially in the centre and main shopping district, are named after rivers in Great Britain, mainly Scotland. These include the main streets Dee and Tay, as well as those named after the Forth, Tyne, Esk, Don, Thames, Mersey, Ness, Yarrow, Spey and Eye rivers.

The 2013 census showed the population was 51,696, up 2.7% on the 2006 census number.

History

Civic Theatre in Invercargill, New Zealand
Civic Theatre, the town hall of Invercargill – built in 1906.

Southland was a scene of early extended contact between Europeans and Maori, notably whalers and missionaries – Wohlers at Ruapuke. In 1853, Walter Mantell purchased Murihiku from local Maori iwi, claiming the land for European settlement. Otago, of which Southland was itself part, was the subject of planned settlement by the Free Church, an offshoot of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Settlement broadened with the discovery of gold in Central Otago in the 1860s. Today, traces of Scottish speech persist in Southland voices, with R often pronounced with a rolling burr. This is more noticeable among country people.

In 1856, a petition was put forward to Thomas Gore Browne, the Governor of New Zealand, for a port at Bluff. Due to the Otago gold rush, the region's population grew during the 1860s with the settlement of Bluff. Browne agreed to the petition and gave the name Invercargill to the settlement north of the port. Inver comes from the Scottish Gaelic word inbhir meaning a river's mouth and Cargill is in honour of Captain William Cargill, who was at the time the Superintendent of Otago, of which Southland was then a part. The settlement's chief surveyor was John Turnbull Thomson, a British civil engineer.

Under the influence of James Menzies, Southland Province (a small part of the present Region, centred on Invercargill) seceded from Otago in 1861 following the escalation of political tensions. However, rising debt forced Southland to rejoin Otago in 1870 and the provincial system, and with it the province of Otago, was abolished entirely in 1876. This debt was caused by a population decline stemming from poor returns from pastoral farming. In 1874, Invercargill's population was less than 2,500 which reflected the drift north to large centres. In the 1880s, the development of an export industry based on butter and cheese encouraged the growth of dairy farming in Southland. In December 1905, Invercargill voted in local prohibition of alcohol sales. This lasted for 40 years until voted out by returning servicemen in the Second World War. Drinking continued meanwhile, thanks to hotels and liquor merchants in outlying districts, huge volumes of beer, often in kegs, brought to private homes, or sold by the glass by keggers at hiding spots round the City. When prohibition ended, a committee of citizens persuaded the Government to give the monopoly on liquor sales in Invercargill to the specially formed Invercargill Licensing Trust. Based on a scheme in Carlisle, England, it returns profits to city amenities. Even today, alcohol is not sold in supermarkets.

In recent years, publicity has been brought to the southern city by the election of Tim Shadbolt, a colourful and outspoken former student activist and former mayor of Waitemata City, as mayor. He once appeared on a cheese advertisement stating "I don't mind where, as long as I'm Mayor". His supporters like the colour he brings to the city. His opponents refer to his controversial mayoral career in the Auckland suburbs and to his attitude to veterans during his opposition to the Vietnam War. Publicity and students have also come to the city by the Southern Institute of Technology's "Zero Fees" scheme, which allows New Zealand citizens and permanent residents to study while only paying for material costs of their study, and not tuition fees.

Geography

ISS Invercargill
Invercargill pictured from the International Space Station

Invercargill is the southernmost city in the Commonwealth of Nations. Invercargill is situated on the fertile and alluvial Southland Plains, which is amongst some of New Zealand's most fertile farmland. Southern Invercargill lies on the shore of the New River Estuary, while the northern parts lie on the banks of the Waihopai River. 10 kilometres west of the city centre lies Oreti Beach, a long expanse of sand stretching from the Sandy Point area to nearby Riverton.

Climate

Invercargill has a temperate oceanic climate. The mean daily temperature ranges from 5.2 °C (41.4 °F) in July to 14 °C (57 °F) in January. The yearly mean temperature is 9.8 °C (49.6 °F). Rainfall averages 1,112 millimetres (43.8 in) annually, and measurable snowfall is occasionally seen during the winter months of June to September. It is the cloudiest city in New Zealand with only 1,580 hours of sunshine per annum. Despite its cloudiness, and a relatively high frequency of rainy days, Invercargill receives less rain than either Auckland or Wellington. Invercargill is also New Zealand's second windiest city, after Wellington.

The average temperature high ranges from 18.7 °C (65.7 °F) in January to 9.5 °C (49.1 °F) in July, but temperatures do occasionally exceed 25 °C (77 °F) in summer with a recorded extreme of 32.2 °C (90.0 °F). Owing to its relatively high latitude (46° 42′), the city enjoys nearly 16 hours of daylight at the summer solstice in late December. Conversely, the city receives only around 8 hours of daylight at the winter solstice in late June.

Invercargill is the "City of Water and Light". The "light" refers to the long summer twilights and the aurora australis (southern lights). The "water" reference, humorists suggest, comes from notorious horizontal, driving rain in high wind at the corner of the two main streets, Dee and Tay. A recent sign also states "Invercargill, where dreams can come true" with an image from the 2005 film The World's Fastest Indian.

In September 2010, Invercargill's heaviest snowfall in living memory heralded a run of unseasonably cold weather. A few buildings were damaged, notably Stadium Southland, the roof of which collapsed under the weight of the snow; and a decorating store. Many other stores were shut, and Invercargill Airport was closed for a day.

Climate data for Invercargill (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.6
(88.9)
32.1
(89.8)
28.8
(83.8)
25.5
(77.9)
20.9
(69.6)
18.4
(65.1)
16.7
(62.1)
21.0
(69.8)
23.1
(73.6)
24.6
(76.3)
27.5
(81.5)
28.8
(83.8)
32.1
(89.8)
Average high °C (°F) 18.7
(65.7)
18.6
(65.5)
17.1
(62.8)
14.9
(58.8)
12.3
(54.1)
10.0
(50)
9.5
(49.1)
11.1
(52)
13.1
(55.6)
14.4
(57.9)
15.8
(60.4)
17.5
(63.5)
14.4
(57.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) 14.2
(57.6)
13.9
(57)
12.5
(54.5)
10.4
(50.7)
8.0
(46.4)
5.9
(42.6)
5.3
(41.5)
6.6
(43.9)
8.5
(47.3)
9.9
(49.8)
11.4
(52.5)
13.0
(55.4)
10.0
(50)
Average low °C (°F) 9.6
(49.3)
9.3
(48.7)
7.9
(46.2)
5.8
(42.4)
3.8
(38.8)
1.9
(35.4)
1.0
(33.8)
2.2
(36)
4.0
(39.2)
5.4
(41.7)
7.0
(44.6)
8.6
(47.5)
5.5
(41.9)
Record low °C (°F) -0.9
(30.4)
-2.4
(27.7)
-2.4
(27.7)
-4.9
(23.2)
-6.9
(19.6)
-7.4
(18.7)
-9.0
(15.8)
-8.0
(17.6)
-4.5
(23.9)
-3.2
(26.2)
-2.0
(28.4)
-0.4
(31.3)
-9.0
(15.8)
Precipitation mm (inches) 115.0
(4.528)
87.1
(3.429)
97.4
(3.835)
95.9
(3.776)
114.4
(4.504)
104.0
(4.094)
85.2
(3.354)
75.6
(2.976)
84.2
(3.315)
95.0
(3.74)
90.4
(3.559)
105.0
(4.134)
1,149.3
(45.248)
Humidity 80.6 83.3 84.2 85.3 87.0 87.7 88.1 85.8 81.3 80.0 78.2 78.6 83.3
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 13.0 10.3 12.3 12.3 15.3 15.6 14.2 12.8 13.1 13.8 13.3 14.3 160.4
Sunshine hours 185.9 167.2 142.6 117.2 87.5 78.7 97.9 123.0 139.8 173.0 181.3 188.2 1,682.2
Source #1: NIWA Climate Data
Source #2: Météo Climat
Panorama of Invercargill from the city's historic watertower. Queen's Park can be seen toward the right of the image.

Transport

Road

Invercargill is the southernmost city on New Zealand's state highway network and is linked to Fiordland and the Catlins by the Southern Scenic Route and Dunedin and Gore by SH 1. It is also the southern end of SH6 coming from Queenstown and the West Coast. The main streets of Invercargill: Dee (SH 6) and Tay (SH 1) measure over 40 metres wide. Numerous roads in the city are dual-carriageway but there are no expressways/motorways proposed for the city.

See also: Public transport in Invercargill

Rail links

Invercargill is at the southern end of the Main South Line railway, which extends up the east coast to Christchurch and Lyttelton via Dunedin. It was the first town in New Zealand to have a steam locomotive and had the first railway in the country . Though once the centre of a much larger rail network, over the years, this has diminished. Passenger trains no longer call at Invercargill, except for occasional excursions. Until the cancellation of The Southerner in 2002, Invercargill had the southernmost passenger railway station in the world. The Bluff Branch extends south from Invercargill and has been freight-only since 1967. The Wairio Branch extends northwest from Invercargill to the Solid Energy coalfields near Ohai and continues to carry freight even after the closing of the Ohai coal mine.

Airport

During the mid-1950s, Invercargill Airport was used for fuel top-up and final take off by Operation Deep Freeze. Twin-engine propeller-driven planes destined for McMurdo Sound in the Antarctic used the airport, assisted in takeoff by JATO rockets. Larger aircraft flew from Christchurch when a permanent Deep Freeze base was established there.

Air New Zealand operates eight daily flights to Christchurch and two to Wellington. Stewart Island Flights make regular flights to and from Stewart Island/Rakiura. Mount Cook Airline and Air Nelson, wholly owned subsidiaries of Air New Zealand, also operate out of the airport flying ATR 72's and Bombardier Dash 8's. Mainland Air of Dunedin operate a Piper Navajo which are contracted to fly doctors to Southland Hospital several times per week from Dunedin Hospital.

Southern Wings is the only aeroclub based at the airport and runs charter flights as well as running a flight school.

Invercargill Airport has the fourth longest runway in New Zealand, following Auckland, Christchurch and Ohakea, at 2210 metres.

Music

The "Invercargill March" is an internationally famous tune was written by Alex Lithgow who attended Invercargill Grammar School (now Middle School). In his book Invercargill – 150 Years, Lloyd Esler's opening sentence reads, "Invercargill was done a fine favour by Alex Lithgow who named his famous march after his boyhood home. The Invercargill March is possibly the best advertisement the town has ever had as the work is a brass-band favourite and the word 'Invercargill' is whispered amongst audiences worldwide. There is only one Invercargill in the world – this one".

When Invercargill hosted the national brass band contest in 1909, Alex's brother Tom asked for a test piece for the contest and Alex offered this piece to the city. On the music he wrote,

"To Invercargill, the Southernmost City in New Zealand (End of the World), and its Citizens, I dedicate this March as a memento of the many pleasant years spent there in my boyhood."

—Alex Lithgow

Suburbs

  • Appleby
  • Ascot
  • Avenal
  • Clifton
  • Georgetown
  • Gladstone
  • Glengarry
  • Grasmere
  • Hawthorndale
  • Heidelberg
  • Kew
  • Kildare
  • Kingswell
  • Newfield
  • Otatara
  • Prestonville
  • Richmond
  • Rosedale
  • Strathern
  • Thomson Park
  • Waikiwi
  • Waverley
  • Windsor
  • West Invercargill
  • Woodend

Sister cities

Images for kids


Invercargill Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.