Parnassus, New Zealand

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The former supermarket at Parnassus

Parnassus is a town located in the Canterbury region's Hurunui District on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. It is located on the north bank of the Waiau River and the 2001 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings gave its usually resident population as 900, a decline of 6.8% or 66 people since the 1996 census.[1]

It takes its name from a local sheep run owned by a classical scholar, Edward Lee. He saw a likeness between a local hill and the Greek Mount Parnassus, mythical home of the god Apollo and the Muses.[2]

State Highway 1 passes through the town on its route from Cheviot to Kaikoura, and the Main North Line railway from Christchurch to Picton also runs through the town. At one stage, the Waiau Branch was intended to be the main line north and a branch line diverged from the Waiau route in Waipara to service coastal communities. This line was opened to Parnassus in 1912 and was known as the Parnassus Branch at that stage. However, the decision was made to use the Parnassus route as the main line, relegating the route from Waipara through the Weka Pass to Waiau to the status of branch line. The Main North Line was completed in 1945 and continues to serve Parnassus today.

The epicentre of the 1901 Cheviot earthquake was at Parnassus.


External links[edit]

Media related to Parnassus, New Zealand at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 42°43′S 173°18′E / 42.717°S 173.300°E / -42.717; 173.300