Events In History

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Kaikōura, on the Marlborough coast, is isolated by mountains and hills to both north and south. Before 1900 it had only bridle tracks north and south, and no rail connection in either direction until 1945. In the 1820s and 1830s Te Rauparaha and his allies attacked Ngāi Tahu here. Ngāi Tahu retained its mana in the district, but numbers slowly fell. Early Pākehā settlers, many of Irish origin, struggled to clear the forest and create swamp-free pastures. Kaikōura languished for over a century. On 15 December 1945 the Christchurch–Picton railway was opened at Kaikōura in front of an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 5,000. From 1962 the roll-on, roll-off ferry between Wellington and Picton brought more freight and passenger traffic, both road and rail. The undersea Kaikōura Canyon brings abyssal depths and sperm whales close to the coast, and whale watching has been a major tourist attraction since the 1980s.

Meaning of place name
Crayfish are a specialty (the town’s name means ‘eat crayfish’).