Middlemarch, New Zealand

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Middlemarch is located in New Zealand
Looking south along State Highway 87 at Middlemarch

Middlemarch is a small town in the Otago region of New Zealand's South Island. It lies at the foot of the Rock and Pillar Range of hills in the broad Strath-Taieri valley, through which flows the middle reaches of the Taieri River. Since local government reorganisation in the late 1980s, Middlemarch and much of the Strath-Taieri has been administered as part of Dunedin city, the centre of which lies some 80 km to the southeast. Middlemarch has reticulated sewerage but no reticulated water supply.

Middlemarch has a population of around 300. It is mainly a service town for the local farming community, and is the terminus of the Taieri Gorge Railway, and the start of the Otago Central Rail Trail.

Several suggestions exist about how the township was named. One is that Mrs Alice Humphreys (née Hawdon, 1848–1934), whose husband Edward Wingfield Humphreys owned and had surveyed for sale sections in this new township, named the town after George Eliot's novel Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life.[1] [2] Another is that the name is from the now obsolete English term "march" meaning a boundary - in this case a middle area between two rivers. As with many places in and close to the Maniototo area, its name may have been influenced by the Northumberland ancestry of early surveyor John Turnbull Thomson (there is a Middle March region in Northumberland, centred on the town of Otterburn).


  1. ^ "History". Middlemarch official website. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  2. ^ Thomson, J. (ed) (1998) Southern People A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography Dunedin, NZ: Longacre Press with Dunedin City Council. ISBN 1-877135-11-9. Page 240.

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Coordinates: 45°31′S 170°07′E / 45.517°S 170.117°E / -45.517; 170.117