161 km north-west of Timaru. South Canterbury’s youngest town, Twizel began as a hydro construction town when the government laid out 1,200 sections and 23 km of road, on 260 hectares of former Ruataniwha Station land. Schools, and shopping and community centres were built. From a population of nil in 1969, Twizel had between 5,000 and 6,000 inhabitants by 1975. The town was modelled on Mangakino in the North Island and Ōtemātātā in North Otago.

Meaning of place name
Named after the Twizel River. The river was named by J.T. Thomson after Twizel Bridge in Northumberland, where the English army crossed the Tweed before the Battle of Flodden in 1518. the word comes from 'twizla', meaning fork of a river.

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