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Town 33 km west of Rangiora. Close to once-forested foothills, Oxford started in the early 1850s as a sawmilling town. In the 1870s, 11 mills were operating. A major fire in 1898 curtailed milling and the last mill closed in 1912. The town survived as a rural service and retirement centre.
Meaning of place name
The town was named after the nearby Oxford Forest. This in turn was named either after Oxford in England and in particular Oxford University, or, more probably, after Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Oxford, who was a member of the Canterbury Association.