Winton, New Zealand

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The Heart of Southland
Winton is located in New Zealand
Location in New Zealand
Coordinates: 46°08′35″S 168°19′25″E / 46.14306°S 168.32361°E / -46.14306; 168.32361Coordinates: 46°08′35″S 168°19′25″E / 46.14306°S 168.32361°E / -46.14306; 168.32361
Country New Zealand
IslandSouth Island
Territorial authoritySouthland District
Settledc. 1861 by Thomas Winton
 • Urban
61 km2 (24 sq mi)
51 m (167 ft)
 (New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings 2013)
 • Urban
 • Urban density43.3/km2 (112/sq mi)
 • Demonym
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s)03
Local iwiNgāi Tahu

Winton is a rural town in Southland, New Zealand. It is located close to the east bank of the Oreti River, 30 kilometres north of Invercargill and 50 kilometres south of Lumsden. The town is named after Thomas Winton, a local stockman who lived and farmed in the area in the 1850s. Winton has a population of 2,211 as of the 2013 Census.[1] The district thrived with the development of sheep and fat-lamb farms in the early 1900s. Later, dairy farming became the staple economy, although the town has also seen sawmills, and flax and linen-flax industries.

Today, Winton thrives as an agricultural service town for local farmers and traders and as a stop-off for travellers on the InvercargillQueenstown highway. Its population is not declining, partly because farmers retire there, attracted by a climate that is warmer, drier and calmer than Invercargill or Southland’s coastal districts.[2] Population increases have also been driven by an influx of dairy workers who have migrated with their families from countries such as the Philippines and the Netherlands. Local businesses, worship centres and schools have welcomed the new community members.[3]

Minnie Dean, the only woman ever hanged in New Zealand, is buried in Winton cemetery.[4]

David Hall, the popular Southland Rugby Union player was born in Winton.

State Highway 6 passes through the town between Queenstown and Invercargill. State Highway 96, a regional highway, connects east to the town of Mataura and west to Ohai.


Winton was formerly a railway junction but is no longer served by any trains. On 22 February 1871, a railway line from Invercargill was opened to Winton, built to the international standard gauge of 1,435mm. This was the furthest extent of Southland's standard gauge network, and the next section to Caroline was built to New Zealand's national track gauge, 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge railway. This extension opened on 20 October 1875, ending Winton's 4.5 years as a railway terminus, and two months later, the line back to Invercargill was converted to 1,067mm gauge. This line grew to be the Kingston Branch. In 1883, a bush tramway was built eastwards from Winton, and in the 1890s, it was rebuilt to railway standards as a branch line and opened as the Hedgehope Branch on 17 July 1899. It established Winton as a railway junction, and the town functioned in this capacity until 1 January 1968, when the Hedgehope Branch closed. The Kingston line, once one of the more important lines in the country, declined during the 1970s, and most of it closed on 13 December 1982, including the portion through Winton. Today, little remains of Winton's railway, though its route can be discerned.

Education in Winton[edit]

Winton provides the town and surrounding areas with pre-school, primary and high schools. There is no tertiary education provider in Winton. Tertiary students have the choice of many different providers throughout New Zealand. The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) is located in Invercargill, and the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic are located 200 km away in Dunedin. These three are the most common options for students.


Central Southland College is the only secondary school in Winton. It educates students from a wide area of Central Southland, including the small towns and districts of Winton, Otautau, Nightcaps, Ohai, Dipton, and Hedgehope, together with a large area of farmland. Most of the students travel to school by free school bus. The school community consists of approximately 12% Maori.

After hours, the school is used by various community groups such as basketball leagues, the swimming club and sewing classes.


Winton Primary and St Thomas Aquinas are the two primary schools in the town.


The climate in Winton is temperate. It is generally warmer, drier and calmer than Invercargill or Southland’s coastal districts. There is a great deal of rainfall in Winton, even in the driest month. According to Köppen and Geiger, this climate is classified as 'oceanic'. The average annual temperature in Winton is 9.9 °C and in a year, the average rainfall is 912 mm. The driest month is August, with 55 mm of rain. The greatest amount of precipitation occurs in January, with an average of 96 mm. January is the warmest month of the year with the temperature in averaging 14.5 °C. The lowest average temperatures in the year occur in July, when it is around 4.8 °C. There is a difference of 41 mm of precipitation between the driest and wettest months. The variation in temperatures throughout the year is 9.7 °C. Winton's highest temperature on record is 35.0 °C (95.0 °F), which was recorded on 14 January 2018.[5]


  1. ^ Grant, David. "Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 2-Mar-09". 'Southland places - Central Southland'. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  2. ^ Grant, David. "'Southland places - Central Southland'". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 2-Mar-09. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Southland town hit with influx of Filipino workers". 3 News. MediaWorks TV. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  4. ^ Hamish, McNeilly (30 January 2009). "Mystery headstone on Dean's grave". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  5. ^ "New Zealand Climate Summary: Summer 2017-18" (PDF). NIWA. Retrieved 20 August 2018.