Geraldine, New Zealand
Talbot St (New Zealand State Highway 79) in Geraldine
|Territorial authority||Timaru District|
|Time zone||New Zealand Standard Time (UTC+12)|
|• Summer (DST)||New Zealand Daylight Time (UTC+13)|
Geraldine (Māori: Heratini) is a town in the Canterbury Region on the South Island of New Zealand. It is about 140 km south of Christchurch, and inland from Timaru, which is 35 km to the south. Geraldine has a country village atmosphere, with majestic old forests, early settlers cottages and little arts and crafts corners.
The Geraldine area started to be settled by Europeans in the 1840s and it was in 1854 that Samuel Hewlings built the first bark hut in Talbot Street. He married a Māori woman, Nga Hei, and the totara tree that he planted to mark the birth of his daughter still stands. Sheep runs were quickly established in the area together with pit saw milling of the native bush. When the bush had been cleared, wheat crops were grown across the plains.
Originally called Talbot Forest, Geraldine was renamed FitzGerald in 1857 after the first superintendent of Canterbury, the Irishman James Edward FitzGerald. The name was finally changed to Geraldine, which was the FitzGeralds' family name in Ireland.
Geraldine became a Town Board in 1884 and a Borough in 1905. It was incorporated in the Ashburton electorate in 1908, when its hotels were closed. It remained "dry" until 1950, when the Geraldine Licensing Trust Hotel opened.
Geraldine’s reputation as a home to artists and artisans is growing all the time and many of these people have their work on sale in the town itself or from nearby studios. Also on display in a local shop is a recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry. It is at approximately half scale.
Geraldine is home to a plethora of eateries and wineries that surround and stretch along the main street.
A short drive from Geraldine is Peel Forest. This is a very precious and extensive podocarp forest with abundant birdlife, and with many reminders of the region’s early European pioneers. Follow the road beside the Rangitata River (a world-class white-water rafting and salmon fishing river, which also provides vital irrigation to surrounding districts) into the upper Rangitata River valley for some of the most spectacular alpine and high country scenery in New Zealand. It is not difficult to see why The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson chose this valley as an important location in his films.
Geraldine is in the heart of a prosperous farming area with dairy cows, sheep, cattle, deer, cropping and fruit growing in abundance. Almost 3,500 people live in the town and its surroundings areas. It is the headquarters for the nearby state forests and has modern shopping amenities such as a book shop, hardware shop, dairies and many more.
Geraldine has two schools.
Geraldine High School (est 1963) is a decile 8 state co-educational secondary school that provides for students years 7 through 13, with 553 students (as of July 2015). The principal is Juliette Hayes.
Entertainment and media
Movies are shown at the Geraldine Cinema (est. 1924), located on Talbot St. Geraldine's first radio station, Z100FM, operated in 1999-2000. This changed to Four Peaks FM in 2001. Just Country FM currently broadcasts from the town.
- Annabel Ritchie (born 1978), rower
- John Badcock (artist) artist
- Jordan Luck musician
- Hayden Paddon rally driver
- Peter Williams broadcaster
- Years 1-6
- Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4.
- "QuickStats About Geraldine". 2006 Census. Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- "Geraldine Primary School". Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- "Directory of Schools - as at 17 August 2015". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
- "Geraldine High School". Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- "Geraldine Cinema". Timaru District Library. Retrieved 2010-01-28.[dead link]
- "Radio Heritage Foundation". Radio Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2010-01-28.
- "Hayden". New Zealand World Rally Team. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
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