Town 19 km north of Timaru. Situated near the Arowhenua forest and close to early crossings of the Ōpihi and Temuka rivers, it was gazetted as a town in 1858 and surveyed in 1863, originally under the name ‘Wallingford’. It developed as a secondary industrial centre to Timaru, with early boiling-down and tannery works, a flour mill, a cheese factory and potteries. Temuka has one of New Zealand’s best preserved early 20th-century main streets, and a number of notable older public buildings and churches.

Meaning of place name
Temuka is a corruption of Te Umukaha: te: the; unu: earth oven; kaha: strong: The fierce ovens. Large ovens were dug here in order to extract a sweet substance from the roots of cabbage trees. Another interpretation is Strong current, umu in that case meaning current.