|Otago Regional Council|
|Name:||Otago Regional Council|
June 2006 estimate
|Land Area:||31,241 km²|
|Cities and Towns|
|Towns:||Queenstown, Alexandra, Cromwell, Oamaru, Palmerston, Wanaka, Frankton, Middlemarch, Lawrence, Balclutha, Brighton, Mosgiel, Milton, Waikouaiti, Moeraki|
|Constituent Territorial Authorities|
Central Otago District
Queenstown Lakes District
Otago is a region of New Zealand in the south-east of the South Island. It measures approximately 32,000 km² (12,350 mi²) in area, making it the second-largest region. In the 2001 census it had a population of 181,542.
The name "Otago" anglicises the Kai Tahu Māori dialect name "Otakou". The village of Otakou on the Otago Peninsula served as a whaling base during early years of European economic interest in the east coast of Murihiku around 1840.
Major centres include Dunedin (the Central City of the Region), Oamaru (made famous by Janet Frame), Balclutha, Alexandra, and the major tourist centres Queenstown and Wanaka. Kaitangata in South Otago provides a prominent coal source. The Waitaki and Clutha rivers also provide for much of the country's hydroelectricity-generated electricity.
The Otago Settlement, sponsored by the Free Church of Scotland, materialised in March 1848 with the arrival of the first two immigrant ships from Greenock on the Firth of Clyde -- the John Wickliffe and the Philip Laing. Captain William Cargill, a veteran of the Peninsular War, served as the colony's first leader: Otago citizens subsequently elected him to the office of Superintendent.
Initial settlement concentrated on port and city, then expanded, notably to the south-west, where the fertile Taieri Plains offered good farmland. The 1860s saw rapid commercial expansion after Gabriel Read discovered gold at Gabriel's Gully near Lawrence, and the Central Otago goldrush ensued. Veterans of goldfields in California and Australia, plus many other fortune-seekers from Europe, North America and China poured into the then Province of Otago, swamping its Scottish Presbyterian character. Further gold discoveries at Clyde and on the Arrow River round Arrowtown led to a boom, and Otago became for a period the cultural and economic centre of New Zealand, if not of Australasia. New Zealand's first daily newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, originally edited by Julius Vogel, dates from this period.
The Province of Southland separated from Otago Province and set up its own Provincial Council at Invercargill in 1861. After difficulties ensued, Otago re-absorbed it in 1870, but for local government purposes Southland is a separate region.
Provincial government in New Zealand ceased in 1876, and the national limelight gradually shifted northwards. The colony divided itself into counties in 1876, two in Otago being named after the Scottish independence heroes William Wallace and Robert I of Scotland.
 Visiting Otago
Otago is one of the original 6 provinces of New Zealand. Its hilly country and sheltered valleys gives the province a variety of climates and some spectacular scenery.
 Other destinations
The name Otago is an anglicisation of the Maori placename Otakou as heard in the local dialect.
 Get in
 Get around
- The Southern Lakes.
- The Mountains.
- The Rivers.
- The tiny towns and villages, some now abandoned.
- The stone architecture of many of the pioneers' structures.
- Abandoned goldfields
- Moeraki Boulders - peculiar round rocks on the beach near the fishing settlement of Moeraki, about halfway between Oamaru and Dunedin, about 20 km north of Palmerston.
- Adventure tourism
 Stay safe
Unlike the more northerly parts of New Zealand, Otago often gets snow in winter. Many of the roads become icy in winter, so chains should be carried and used when called for.
Any material derived from Wikitravel articles is released under the Creative Commons Attribution share alike licence
 External links
- Otago Daily Times Newspaper
- Otago Regional Council
- Otago Peninsula
- Otago Rugby Football Union
- Otago New Zealand,Everything about Otago
- Otago Polytechnic
- The University of Otago
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