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Tarras is a small farming settlement in Central Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Tarras is located in New Zealand
Location of Tarras within New Zealand
Coordinates: 44°50′S 169°25′E / 44.833°S 169.417°E / -44.833; 169.417Coordinates: 44°50′S 169°25′E / 44.833°S 169.417°E / -44.833; 169.417
CountryNew Zealand
Territorial authorityCentral Otago Region
290 m (950 ft)
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code03
Local iwiNgāi Tahu

Tarras is on the slopes above the upper reaches of the Clutha Valley, on State Highway 8. It is the first village reached by travellers heading south through the Lindis Pass, and is close to the junction where travellers from Mount Cook turn west towards Hawea, Wanaka, and the Haast Pass.

Most farms in the Tarras district run sheep, principally merino farmed for their super-fine wool. Some also raise other sheep breeds and deer. Many farms have converted to beef cattle since the 2010 introduction of large-scale irrigation.

Vineyards have been established in the region since 2000, growing mainly pinot noir and riesling grapes. The Tarras vineyards are classified as being in the Bendigo sub-region.[2]

Tarras is one of the driest areas in New Zealand, with annual rainfall of between 300 and 500 millimetres (12 and 20 in).[3]

Community Institutions[edit]

Tarras School is known nationally as the school whose friends group published several children's books about Shrek, the hermit Merino sheep.

Tarras Church (Anglican & Presbyterian) is known for its historic kneelers created to celebrate the centennial of New Zealand women's suffrage.

Tarras Rural Women publish the community newsletter, Tarras Talk.

The Tarras Tearooms is a historic waystation for travellers through the Lindis Pass.

Wine sub-region[edit]

The area around Tarras is in the Bendigo sub-region, one of the major subregions of the Central Otago wine region with several top wineries and vineyards. As with other parts of the wine region, the main grape variety in the area is pinot noir, with some plantings of pinot gris and riesling.

Vineyards and Wineries in the area[4][edit]

  • Maori Point Vineyard [5]
  • Swallows Crossing Vineyard [6]

Further reading[edit]

  • Duff, Geoffrey P. Sheep May Safely Graze: The Story of Morven Hills Station and the Tarras District, Central Otago. G Duff, 1978.[7]
  • A Tapestry of Tarras: Local Stories Told in Stitches. Dunedin: [Women’s Division of Federated Farmers, Tarras Branch, 1997].

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2019". Statistics New Zealand. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2020. 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. ^ "Bendigo Vineyards and Wineries". Central Otago Winegrowers Association. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
  3. ^ "Lindis catchment and Bendigo-Tarras Basin: Information Sheet" (PDF). Otago Regional Council. April 2014. p. 2. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
  4. ^ "Bendigo Vineyards and Wineries". Central Otago Winegrowers Association. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
  5. ^ "Maori Point Vineyard".
  6. ^ "Swallows Crossing Vineyard".
  7. ^ Duff, Geoffrey P (1978). Sheep May Safely Graze: The Story of Morven Hills Station and the Tarras District. Central Otago District: G Duff. Retrieved 5 December 2018.