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Haehaenui (Māori)
Buckingham St, Arrowtown's main shopping street
Buckingham St, Arrowtown's main shopping street
Arrowtown is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 44°56′33″S 168°50′09″E / 44.94250°S 168.83583°E / -44.94250; 168.83583Coordinates: 44°56′33″S 168°50′09″E / 44.94250°S 168.83583°E / -44.94250; 168.83583
Country New Zealand
Territorial authorityQueenstown-Lakes District
 • MayorJim Boult
 • District8,704.97 km2 (3,361.01 sq mi)
 (June 2021)[1]
 • Urban
 • District
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s)03
Local iwiNgāi Tahu
Amcal Arrowtown pharmacy

Arrowtown (Māori: Haehaenui) is a historic gold mining town in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. Arrowtown is located on the banks of the Arrow River approximately 7.5 km from State Highway 6. There is also road access directly to Queenstown via the Shotover Gorge and a third route via the picturesque Lake Hayes.


There are many well preserved buildings used by European and Chinese[2] immigrants dating from the gold mining days of the town.

In the 1960s the population had fallen to a low of fewer than 200 people[3] before gaining popularity again. According to the 2013 New Zealand census, the usually resident population of Arrowtown was 2,445, a 13.7% increase since 2006.[4] Despite the growth and construction, it falls under strict appearance covenants applied by the local authority that aim to preserve the appearance of the town.

Arrowtown Chinese settlement[edit]

Arrowtown Chinese goldminers huts (October 2021)

Arrowtown is the home of the historic Chinese Settlement which includes Ah Lum's store. This is located by Bush Creek and highlights the contribution of Chinese goldminers to the region. There are a number of restored miner's houses that can be visited.[5]

Nearby attractions[edit]

Bordering the town is Sir Michael Hill's Championship Golf Course[6] which is home to the New Zealand Golf Open. This championship golf course is a private membership club, but does allow green fee players by appointment only. The club also provides a Day Spa that is available to the public.

Nearby is the luxury Millbrook Resort, which has a spa and 27-hole golf course. It was the site of the agreement of the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme, a programme of the Commonwealth of Nations on the implementation of the Harare Declaration.


Gold was found in the Arrow River in 1862, and a township of 1,000 miners soon sprang up. It was initially named Fox's,[citation needed] based on William Fox's claim to have been first to find gold there, but was soon renamed Arrowtown. Chinese settlers in Arrowtown were forced to live in huts on the banks of Bush Creek.[7] At the high point of the gold rush, the population of Arrowtown rose to over 7,000 and it became the center of a larger municipality, which covered the new settlements of Macetown, Skippers Canyon and Bullendale (today only ghost towns).

Arrowtown was constituted as a borough in 1867[3] and became part of the Queenstown-Lakes District in the local government reorganisation of 1989.


Arrowtown School is a co-educational state primary school for Year 1 to 8 students,[8] with a roll of 495 as of March 2021.[9]

Lakes District museum[edit]

Lakes District Museum, Arrowtown (October 2021)

The Lakes District Museum is located in a collection of historic buildings in Arrowtown. It details the history of the local area, in particular, gold mining and the early settlers.[10] Work in 2020 and 2021 has started on earthquake strengthening the museum buildings and restoring the former Bank of New Zealand building to its original look.[11]

Notable buildings[edit]

Arrowtown Masonic Lodge[edit]

Arrowtown Masonic Lodge (October 2021)

The Lodge Arrow Kilwinning No 86 on Berkshire Street was completed in 1888. A six year project to restore the building was completed in 2010.[12][13] It is a category one historic place.[14]

Buckingham street historic area[edit]

Buckingham Street historic area, Arrowtown (October 2021)

The seven houses located along Buckingham Street have mostly unaltered exteriors and were constructed in the 1870s. These examples of cottages that goldminers of the time are listed as a historic area with Heritage New Zealand.[15]

Saint Patrick's Catholic church[edit]

Saint Patrick's Catholic Church, Arrowtown (October 2021)

Saint Patrick's, located on Hertford Street, was built between 1873 and 1902 and is a category two historic place. The church was designed by architect F. W. Burwell. It has a gothic design and is built out of local schist rock with a Star of David rose window[16][17]

Saint Paul's Anglican church[edit]

Saint Paul's, is the oldest church in Arrowtown, having been built in 1871. Built out of wood in a simplified gothic revival style, the church was built at a cost of 350 pounds. The church is a category one historic place.[18]

St Paul's Anglican Church, Arrowtown (October 2021)

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Population estimate tables - NZ.Stat". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  2. ^ "2. – Chinese – Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  3. ^ a b Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand 1966: Arrowtown
  4. ^ 2013 Census QuickStats about a place  : Arrowtown
  5. ^ "The Arrowtown Chinese Settlement" (PDF). Department of COnservation. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  6. ^ Michael Hill's Championship Golf Course
  7. ^ "Arrowtown Chinese Settlement". Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  8. ^ "Arrowtown School Ministry of Education School Profile". Ministry of Education.
  9. ^ "Arrowtown School Education Review Office Report". Education Review Office.
  10. ^ "Three of the best things to do in Arrowtown". Stuff. 2021-10-02. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  11. ^ Roxburgh, Tracey (2020-10-03). "Work to begin on notable building projects". Otago Daily Times Online News. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  12. ^ Carroll, Joanne (2010-02-10). "Lodge restored to former glory". Otago Daily Times Online News. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  13. ^ "Freemasons find national treasure in Arrowtown". Stuff. 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  14. ^ "Search the List | Arrow Kilwinning Lodge | Heritage New Zealand". Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  15. ^ "Search the List | Buckingham Street Historic Area | Heritage New Zealand". Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  16. ^ "Search the List | St Patrick's Catholic Church | Heritage New Zealand". Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  17. ^ "St Patrick's Catholic Church | Arrowtown, New Zealand Attractions". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  18. ^ "Search the List | St Paul's Anglican Church and Vestry | Heritage New Zealand". Retrieved 2021-10-21.

External links[edit]

Arrowtown travel guide from Wikivoyage