Tuatapere is a small rural town in Southland, New Zealand. It is located eight kilometres from the southern coast. The Waiau River flows through the town before reaching Te Waewae Bay, where it has its outflow into Foveaux Strait. The main local industries are forestry and farming. As of the 2006 New Zealand census, its population is 582.
Tuatapere has a logging museum and is located on the Southern Scenic Route from Invercargill to Te Anau making it a well-travelled tourist stop. The Clifden Suspension Bridge and Clifden War Memorial are located near State Highway 96 outside of Tuatapere.
First European Settlers
On 1 October 1909, a branch line railway from Invercargill was opened to Tuatapere and it became known as the Tuatapere Branch. On 20 October 1925, an extension was opened to Orawia, 14 kilometres to the north-east but the line continued to be known as the Tuatapere Branch and an engine depot was established in the town. It was used as the base for most operations on the line and the branch was operated as essentially two sections, one from Invercargill to Tuatapere and one from Tuatapere to Orawia. Until 1968, steam locomotives ran all trains to Tuatapere, but in June 1968, the line was dieselised, resulting in the closure of the Tuatapere engine depot. On 1 October 1970, a lack of traffic meant the line was truncated to Tuatapere, and it was further cut on 30 July 1976 when the section between Riverton and Tuatapere closed. Some relics from the railway have been preserved in Tuatapere, including structures in the station area such as the old station building and goods shed.
2009 Fiordland earthquake
Tuatapere was one of the closest settlements to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which occurred on 15 July 2009, the largest in New Zealand since 1931. Despite the earthquake's huge force, little damage was sustained and no injuries were reported.
- "QuickStats about Tuatapere". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- New Zealand - New Postal Codes (2008). 26 November 2010.
- Quickstats about Tuatapere
- Western Southland - Tuatapere.
- New Zealand History Online - Clifden war memorial.
- Lochore, R. A. (1948–49). "The European Alien Groups Resident in New Zealand". Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 77: 348.
- Wises New Zealand Guide, 7th Edition 1979. p.321