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Farm service centre on Waimea Plains with population of 135 in 2006. The settlement dates from 1884, when Balfour was surveyed as a township. At that stage the land was part of the Longridge station. The 1905 Cyclopedia of New Zealand reports that at that time there were at least 10 shops, a railway station (built 1899), a post office, a school for 80 children (est. 1887), a hall and three churches. The population as recorded in 1901 was 123. In 1881, there were no houses on the site of the township, but in 1882, Mr John Macpherson, the pioneer settler of the district, erected a store, took out an hotel license a year later, and built Longridge Hotel in 1884.
Meaning of place name
Named after an employee of the Waimea Company who lived in a hut in this locality. Originally known as Longridge and was changed to Balfour to avoid confusion with Longridge North and Longridge South. Another account states that when Longridge was superseded, the place was named after James Mulville Balfour, a surveyor employed by the Otago Provincial Council. In 1867 Balfour was appointed marine engineer to the colony.