Geraldine, New Zealand

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Heratini (Māori)
A busy small-town straight street, flanked by shops and the occasional small tree. In the foreground is a pedestrian crossing. Three people are crossing right-to-left - two ladies stepping off the crossing and another entering it. Another lady is crossing left-to-right about halfway across. In the background is a Shell petrol station and behind that a small hill with a large house about halfway up.
Talbot St (New Zealand State Highway 79) in Geraldine
Geraldine is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 44°05′25″S 171°14′36″E / 44.09028°S 171.24333°E / -44.09028; 171.24333Coordinates: 44°05′25″S 171°14′36″E / 44.09028°S 171.24333°E / -44.09028; 171.24333
Country  New Zealand
Region Canterbury
Territorial authority Timaru District
Population (2006)[1]
 • Total 2,244
Time zone New Zealand Standard Time (UTC+12)
 • Summer (DST) New Zealand Daylight Time (UTC+13)
Postcode 7930
Local iwi Ngāi Tahu

Geraldine or Heratini (Māori) 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.


The Geraldine area was 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 their 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.


Peel Forest is a podocarp forest with abundant birdlife.


Geraldine has two schools.

Geraldine Primary School[2] is a decile 8 state co-educational contributing[nb 1] school, with 289 students (as of February 2018).[3]

Geraldine High School (est 1963)[4] is a decile 8 state co-educational secondary school that provides for students years 7 through 13, with 563 students (as of February 2018).[3]

Entertainment and media[edit]

Movies are shown at the Geraldine Cinema (est. 1924), located on Talbot St.[5] 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.[6]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Years 1-6


  • Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4. 
  1. ^ "QuickStats About Geraldine". 2006 Census. Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Geraldine Primary School". Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Directory of Schools - as at 14 March 2018". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 20 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "Geraldine High School". Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Geraldine Cinema". Timaru District Library. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  6. ^ "Radio Heritage Foundation". Radio Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  7. ^ "Hayden". New Zealand World Rally Team. Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 

External links[edit]