Collingwood is Golden Bay’s oldest and second-largest town. Gold was discovered nearby in 1857, and some people suggested that the town should become New Zealand’s capital. The town was surveyed on terraces on the eastern side of the Aorere River mouth, but Collingwood – originally called Gibbstown – was never built there. Instead settlers established themselves on the flat land below. The town’s wooden buildings were damaged or destroyed in major fires in 1883, 1897, 1904, 1930 and 1967.

Meaning of place name
After Admiral Collingwood, who was second-in-command under Lord Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar. The township was first named Gibbstown after the pioneer settler William Gibbs. Collingwood town was laid out nearby by order of the provincial government, but was not taken up, and eventually the name Collingwood was transferred to Gibbstown.