Otago Province

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Map showing the boundaries of the Otago Province with Southland Province separate

The Otago Province was a province of New Zealand until the abolition of provincial government in 1876. The capital of the province was Dunedin. Southland Province split from Otago in 1861, but became part of the province again in 1870.

Area and history[edit]

Otago Province was one of the six original provinces established in New Zealand in 1853. It covered the lower third of the South Island. Its northern neighbour was the Canterbury Province, and the boundary was the Waitaki River from the Pacific Ocean to its source in the Southern Alps, and from there a straight line to Awarua Bay (now known as Big Bay) on the west coast.[1] The inland area of the Waitaki catchment was unexplored in 1853 and dispute later arose over which branch of the Waitaki should form the boundary. The boundary was delineated in 1861 as following the Ohau River to Lake Ohau and from there a straight line to Mount Aspiring and Awarua Bay.[1]

Southland Province split from Otago in 1861, but became part of the province again in 1870.[1] All the New Zealand provinces were abolished at the end of 1876.

Anniversary Day[edit]

New Zealand law provides an anniversary day for each province.


The Otago Province had five Superintendents:[2]

No. from to Superintendent
1 26 Dec 1853 Dec 1859 William Cargill
2 3 Jan 1860 6 Mar 1861 James Macandrew
3 17 May 1861 15 Apr 1863 John Richardson
4 16 Apr 1863 23 Jun 1865 John Hyde Harris
5 4 Aug 1865[3] 26 Feb 1867 Thomas Dick
27 Feb 1867 1 Jan 1877 James Macandrew (2nd time)


The Province built the Port Chalmers Branch under the auspices of the Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway Company Limited, and was built to the recently adopted national track gauge of 1067 mm (3 feet 6 inches), and it was the first line in the country with that gauge to open, on 1 January 1873. The first locomotive to run on the line was the E class Josephine, a double Fairlie steam locomotive, whose local popularity ensured she was retained beyond her retirement from service on the railways in 1917 and is preserved today in the Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin.

When the Southland province amalgamated with Otago in 1870, the latter acquired the former province's railways - which were built to the standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 feet 8.5 inches).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McLintock, A. H., ed. (23 April 2009) [First published in 1966]. "Otago Province or Provincial District". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Provinces 1848-77". Rulers.org. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  3. ^ "The Superintendency". Otago Witness. No. 714. 5 August 1865. p. 11. Retrieved 23 May 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°27′51″S 169°52′11″E / 45.46412°S 169.86977°E / -45.46412; 169.86977