Orari, New Zealand

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Orari (Maori: "Ōrari") is a small town in the South-Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island, roughly midway between Ashburton to the north, and Timaru to the south it is the northern most town of South Canterbury.

The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage gives a translation of "place of the butterfish" for Ōrarī.[1]

The outskirts of Orari consists of mainly 2-8 hectare "lifestyle blocks", domestic land parcels where families graze farm animals including horses, sheep and cattle. Surrounding the town is pastoral farmland including sheep raised for wool and meat, small scale horse breeding, and large scale dairy farming, orchards supporting fruit and nut production, and small support businesses supporting bee wax refining, irrigation, and agricultural and farming activities.

The statistical area called Orari, which is much larger than the town and surrounds but does not include Geraldine, Winchester and Temuka, had a population of 4,677 at the 2013 New Zealand census, an increase of 588 people since the 2006 census. There were 2,409 males and 2,265 females. Figures have been rounded and may not add up to totals.[2] 92.8% were European/Pākehā, 5.6% were Māori, 0.9% were Pacific peoples and 2.1% were Asian.[3]

Orari is the location of the Orari racecourse, the site of the region's annual Christmas horse racing event.

State Highway 1 and the Main South Line railway pass through the east edge of Orari, turning off State Highway 1 into Orari provides travelers easy access to the McKenzie country, Tekapo and Mt Cook.

Generally warm dry summers (typically highs are 22-32C) that can be affected by strong NW winds exceeding 100 km/hr, with cool dry winters with little snow fall and a high number of frost nights. Orari rainfall was less than 600mm (24 inches) for both 2014 and 2015.


  1. ^ "1000 Māori place names". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 6 August 2019.
  2. ^ 2013 Census QuickStats about a place : Orari
  3. ^ 2013 Census QuickStats about a place (Cultural diversity) : Orari

Coordinates: 44°08′14″S 171°17′53″E / 44.13736°S 171.29807°E / -44.13736; 171.29807