Asked what sort of a place Timaru was, my New Zealand contact opined, “It’s too small to get slaughtered and smash up the place but big enough to get a good lawyer to get you off.”
So what sort of place is it, that Ireland will kick off their New Zealand tour ?
Timaru, a port on the Central South Island, is located between Christchurch and Dunedin and is the largest urban area in South Cantebury.
Named Te Maru – ‘a place of shelter’ – Timaru was originally a haven for weary Maori travellers conoeing along the otherwise shelterless coastline.
Briefly settled as a whaling station (1838), Timaru was sparsely populated until 1859 when the English ship Strathallan arrived with 120 immigrants and in 1877 development of an artificial harbour began and today it is one of the biggest ports in New Zealand.
Overlooked by Mt Cook or Aoraki as it is also known, Timaru is two and a half hours drive from, New Zealand’s highest mountain which is located in the breathtaking Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Glaciers cover 40 percent of the area with it’s 19 peaks over 3,000 metres high. The park is also part of Te Wahipounamu – South Westland World Heritage Area – in recognition of its outstanding natural value.