Mackenzie District

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For the former regional administrative district of Canada's Northwest Territories, see District of Mackenzie.
Mackenzie District
Territorial authority
Mackenzie District within the South Island
Mackenzie District within the South Island
Country  New Zealand
Island South Island / Te Waipounamu
Region Canterbury
Seat Fairlie
 • Total 7,339.23 km2 (2,833.69 sq mi)
Population (June 2015 estimate)[1]
 • Total 4,440
 • Density 0.60/km2 (1.6/sq mi)

Mackenzie District is a political district in New Zealand's South Island administered by the Mackenzie District Council. It is part of the larger Canterbury region.

Principal settlements[edit]

The Mackenzie District only has three towns with a permanent population over 300 at the 2013 census:

  • Fairlie (pop. 690) – seat of the district
  • Twizel (pop. 1,140) – the district's largest town
  • Tekapo (pop. 370)

Other smaller settlements include:



A relatively weakly settled area, the district does have a wide number of farms. However, in the late 2000s, numerous proposals for new farming operations have locals fearing that the agriculture will be transformed from often family-held farms to large agribusiness operations, causing increased local ecologic damage and siphoning off capital overseas.[2]


The Mackenzie District has a dry temperate-continental climate with clear, crisp snowy winters and long, hot summers. Autumn is known for being a riot of colour, while spring brings wildflowers blooming throughout the region, including lupins. The warm summer season is from November to February, with temperatures often passing 30 degrees. In the cooler winter season, from June to September, temperatures drop to below 0 degrees Celsius overnight, while sunny winter days average around 8 degrees and regular snowfall.[3]


The MacKenzie Basin was named in the 1850s by and after James Mckenzie, a Scottish-origin shepherd and sheep thief, and the name transferred to the modern district.

Notable places[edit]





National parks[edit]


The current district mayor is Claire Barlow, who was elected to replace the retiring John O'Neill in the 2010 local body elections. She is the first female mayor of the district.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°58′44″S 170°27′25″E / 43.979°S 170.457°E / -43.979; 170.457