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The Big Salmon of Rakaia
The Big Salmon of Rakaia
Rakaia is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 43°45′S 172°01′E / 43.750°S 172.017°E / -43.750; 172.017Coordinates: 43°45′S 172°01′E / 43.750°S 172.017°E / -43.750; 172.017
Country New Zealand
Territorial authorityAshburton District
 (June 2018)[1]
 • Total1,240

Rakaia is a town seated close to the southern banks of the Rakaia River on the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand's South Island, approximately 57 km south of Christchurch on State Highway 1 and the Main South Line. Immediately north of the township are New Zealand's longest road bridge and longest rail bridge, both of which cross the wide shingle beds of the braided river at this point. Both bridges are approximately 1750 metres in length.

Rakaia was also the junction of the Methven Branch, a branch line railway to Methven that operated from 1880 until its closure in 1976. An accident at the railway station in 1899 killed four people.[2]

A township of under 1000 people, its most obvious feature is a large fibreglass salmon. The river from which the town takes its name is known for its salmon fishing and jetboating.

The town and river were previously known as Cholmondeley[3], but the Maori name would eventually prevail over the English one.

The rural community of Acton is located south of the Rakaia township.[4]


  1. ^ "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2018 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-18 (2017 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  2. ^ McLintock, A. H. (1966). "Rakaia Railway Accident". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Names of Places, Fights for Priority". New Zealand Herald. 1 May 1934. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  4. ^ Acton, New Zealand on GeoNames.org

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