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Te Kohurau
Rural centre
A small-town straight street, flanked by shops, parked cars and the occasional small tree. A Caltex petrol station is on the left, a two-storey pub painted bright blue and yellow is on the right.
Bledisloe St (State Highway 83) in Kurow
Country New Zealand
Region Canterbury
Territorial authority Waitaki District
 • Total 312
Time zone UTC+12 (New Zealand Standard Time)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+13 (New Zealand Daylight Time)
Local iwi Ngāi Tahu

Kurow is a small town in the Waitaki District, New Zealand. It is located on the south bank of the Waitaki River, 60 kilometres (37 mi) northwest of Oamaru. At the 2013 Census, the town had a population of 312 people.


The name is an Anglicised form of the name of the nearby mountain Te Kohurau.

In the 1920s the town was the base for the building of the nearby Waitaki Dam and forming Lake Waitaki in the first of a series of hydroelectric projects on the Waitaki River.

The first social security scheme for New Zealand workers was designed in the town, arising from Presbyterian Minister of Kurow Arnold Nordmeyer's experience of working with families of workers on the Waitaki hydro-electric project.

Examples of pre-European Māori cave paintings are close to the small settlement of Duntroon.

The land around the town includes summerfruit orchards, and increasing amounts of Pinot noir are being planted in the limestone soils.

The town was the terminus of the Kurow Branch railway, opened in 1881 to Hakataramea, across the Waitaki River, but cut back to Kurow in 1930. It closed in 1983: the line can be traced on the ground, and the station still building stands on Liverpool St. From 1928 until 1937, a line owned by the Public Works Department ran from Kurow to the hydroelectric project 6.4 km to the west.

Notable people from Kurow include All Black captain Richie McCaw, All Black and rugby administrator Charles Saxton and mathematician Roy Kerr. From 1929 to 1934, Dr Gervan McMillan and his wife Ethel were residents of Kurow, with Dr McMillan running a medical practice.

Notable people

Notable people with connections to Kurow include:

  • Steve Hotton, Otago rugby player
  • Roy Kerr, Mathematician
  • Richie McCaw, All Black captain
  • Dr Gervan McMillan and his wife Ethel were residents of Kurow from 1929 to 1934, with Dr McMillan running a medical practice there.
  • Arnold Nordmeyer, minister of finance and Labour Party politician
  • Charles Saxton. All Black and rugby administrator
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