Haast Pass

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Haast Pass / Tioripatea
Gates of Haast Bridge 08.jpg
Gates of Haast
Elevation562 m (1,844 ft)[1]
Traversed byState Highway 6
LocationWest Coast / Otago, New Zealand
RangeSouthern Alps
Coordinates44°06′19″S 169°21′22″E / 44.105278°S 169.3561°E / -44.105278; 169.3561Coordinates: 44°06′19″S 169°21′22″E / 44.105278°S 169.3561°E / -44.105278; 169.3561
Haast Pass / Tioripatea is located in New Zealand
Haast Pass / Tioripatea
Haast Pass / Tioripatea

The Haast Pass / Tioripatea is a mountain pass in the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand. Māori used the pass in pre-European times.

The pass takes its name from Julius von Haast, a 19th-century explorer who also served as provincial geologist for the provincial government of Canterbury. Following the passage of the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998, the name of the pass was officially altered to Haast Pass / Tioripatea.[1]

Fantail Falls, in the Haast Pass

It is one of the three passes where a road crosses over the Southern Alps – alongside the Lewis Pass and Arthur's Pass, although the Homer Tunnel passes under the Main Divide. The road through Haast Pass (State Highway 6) was converted from a rough track to a formed road in 1966[2] and received a complete chipseal surface by 1995. In the early 20th century, a railway from the West Coast through the pass to Otago was suggested by local MP Tom Seddon; it would have linked the Ross Branch with the Otago Central Railway, which then terminated in Omakau.[3] However, the line never came to fruition; the Otago Central Railway terminated in Cromwell and no railway was built south of Ross, just a lightly laid bush tramway to serve logging interests near Lake Ianthe.[4]

The Haast Pass rises to a height of 562 metres (1,844 ft) above sea level at the saddle between the valleys of the Haast and Makarora Rivers. As such, it is the lowest of the passes traversing the Southern Alps. No settlements exist on the Haast Pass road between Haast and Makarora. The road passes through predominantly unmodified beech forest. The pass itself lies within the limits of Mount Aspiring National Park and forms part of the boundary between Otago and the West Coast.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Place name detail: Haast Pass". New Zealand Gazetteer. Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  2. ^ A Wheel on Each Corner, The History of the IPENZ Transportation Group 1956–2006 – Douglass, Malcolm; IPENZ Transportation Group, 2006, Page 12
  3. ^ "The Dense Forests and Snow-Fed Streams of the West: Ross to Wanaka via the Haast Pass". Otago Witness. 24 January 1906. p. 57.
  4. ^ Churchman, Geoffrey B; Hurst, Tony (2001) [1990, 1991]. The Railways of New Zealand: A Journey through History (Second ed.). Transpress New Zealand. p. 193. ISBN 0-908876-20-3.