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Ōtautau is 50 km north-west of Invercargill, in the foothills of the Longwood Range. It was the administrative hub of Wallace county (western Southland) for a century. Ōtautau began as a wagon stop on the route between Riverton and Wakatipu. Sawmills once processed timber from the Longwood Range, and the township has long served the local farms.

Meaning of place name
Ō: place of; tautau: greenstone ear pendant with a straight shank curved at the lower end.

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