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Encyclopedia > Selwyn District
Selwyn District

The Selwyn district is a predominantly rural area in central Canterbury, on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. It is named after the Selwyn River, which is in turn named after Bishop Selwyn, an early explorer of the area.



The Selwyn District is governed along democratic lines, with all residents aged 18 or older eligible to vote or stand for office.

The district is governed by a mayor and a council of 10 members, elected simultaneously every 3 years. The last such election took place on 9 October, 2004. A mayor (from the Latin maīor, meaning larger,greater) is the politician who serves as chief executive official of some types of municipalities. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The mayor is elected at large on a First Past the Post basis.

The 10 councillors are elected from four wards on a multi-member First Past the Post basis; the total number of votes a candidate receives are considered. 2 councillors are elected from Ellesmere ward, 2 from Malvern, 3 from Selwyn Central, and 3 from Springs. A ward is a department in a hospital or similar such institution. ...

Malvern and Selwyn Central wards also have Community Boards, which have powers delegated to them by the Council.

The Selwyn District also falls under the jurisdiction of Environment Canterbury, which retains certain responsibilities for matters requiring overall regional planning and oversight.

The Selwyn District has powers delegated to it by the Government of New Zealand, and carries out its duties with regard to laws such as the Local Government Act and the Resource Management Act.


The Selwyn District lies in central Canterbury, and occupies a central position in the South Island.

Boundaries: On the Canterbury Plains, the Waimakariri River forms the northern boundary; in the hill country the border with the Hurunui District is more arbitrary. The eastern boundary comprises (from north to south) the city of Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, and the South Pacific Ocean. The southern boundary is the Rakaia River, beyond which lies Ashburton District. The western boundary is the main divide of the Southern Alps. The Canterbury Plains is an area bounded by the foothills of the Southern Alps and the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. ... The Waimakariri River is a river in Canterbury, in the South Island of New Zealand. ... The Hurunui District is a political district on the east coast of New Zealands South Island, north of Christchurch, New Zealand. ... Christchurch is a city on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. ... Banks Peninsula is roughly circular in shape, with many bays, and two deep harbours. ... The Rakaia River is one of the principal rivers of the Canterbury Plains in New Zealands South Island. ... The Southern Alps is a mountain range which runs along the western side of the South Island of New Zealand. ...

Geographical Features: Selwyn District contains within it two distinct regions: the plains and the high country. The plains, where most of the population lives and the majority of activity takes place, form an expanse of low-lying, flat, and comparatively dry grassland. The extreme south-east is dominated by Lake Ellesmere (Waihora), an expanse of water surrounded by marshes, formed by the out-flow of the Selwyn River. Lake Ellesmere is located in the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand. ...

The high country is a sparsely-populated region, mainly consisting of hill and mountain ranges and narrow river valleys. Most of the high country is grassland, including some tussocklands; areas of beech forest remain within the Craigieburn Forest Park and the Arthurs Pass National Park. Arthurs Pass National Park is located in the South Island of New Zealand. ...

Population: The total population of Selwyn District is estimated at 30,800 (June 2004). Approximately half the population lives in the various towns and villages in the district, while the remainder are on farms. 95% of the population live on the plains. The largest towns are Darfield, Leeston, Lincoln and Rolleston. Darfield is a town in the South Island of New Zealand. ... Leeston is a small town with a population of 1,203 (2001 census), on the Canterbury Plains in the South Island of New Zealand. ... // The now widespread name Lincoln originated in a city in eastern England. ... Rolleston is a satellite town of Christchurch, Located next to State highway 1 on the Canterbury Plains in the South Island of New Zealand. ...

Climate: The plains have a temperate climate, characterised by warm, dry summers and cool winters. The Southern Alps are responsible for the relatively low rainfall, and also lead to a foehn wind, the "Canterbury Nor'Wester". This strong, hot and dry wind is most common in spring and summer, and on occasion reaches damage-causing strength. In the mountain country of the Southern Alps, conditions are much colder and wetter. A foehn wind occurs when a deep layer of prevailing wind is forced over a mountain range. ...


Much of the district's economy is based around farming. Most of this is pastoral: beef cattle and sheep in drier areas, and dairy and deer farming in wetter areas. Some horsebreeding is also done. There is also a substantial amount of cropping; wheat and barley are grown on the plains, along with smaller amounts of grapes and other fruit, vegetables, mushrooms and flowers.

The services in the small towns primarily serve the surrounding community. The major exception would be in the town of Lincoln, home to a University and a number of Crown Research Institutes and other organisations concerned with scientific research. Lincoln University is the name of a university in New Zealand and several in the United States: Lincoln University (California) Lincoln University (Missouri) Lincoln University (New Zealand) Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) See also: University of Lincoln This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise... In the New Zealand state sector, a Crown Research Institute or CRI consists of a State-owned, semi-commercialised entity charged with conducting scientific research. ...


The first inhabitants of the area were the Maori. The predominant Maori tribe today, as in most of the rest of the South Island, is Ngai Tahu, who have a marae (meeting house) near the exit of Lake Ellesmere. Te Puni, Māori Chief Māori is the name of the indigenous people of New Zealand, and their language. ... Ngāi Tahu, or Kāi Tahu, is the principal iwi (tribe) of the southern region of New Zealand. ...

In the late 19th century, European (chiefly British) colonists arrived and carved the area up into farmland. This has remained the predominant pattern ever since.

The Selwyn District as a unit of government was formed in 1989 from a legislated merger of the Malvern and Ellesmere counties, along with a portion of Paparua County.

Since this time, the district has enjoyed a stable and prosperous existence. Recent years have seen above-average population growth, believed to be people leaving Christchurch to settle in satellite towns like Rolleston or Lincoln, or on small farms.

  Results from FactBites:
Selwyn District Council (1028 words)
Selwyn District is in the South Island of New Zealand.
The district extends 150 kilometres west from the edge of Christchurch City to the snow-capped crests of the Southern Alps and Arthur's Pass National Park.
Selwyn District is named after the Selwyn River, which, in turn, is named after Bishop Selwyn, one of the first Europeans to walk through the area in the mid 1840s.
Selwyn District Community Profile(published) (587 words)
The unemployment rate in Selwyn District was 3.3 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for all of New Zealand.
The average household size in Selwyn District was 2.8 people, compared with 2.7 for all of New Zealand.
For dwellings that were rented, the average weekly rent paid for permanent private dwellings in Selwyn District was $137, compared with $174 for New Zealand as a whole.
  More results at FactBites »



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