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Town 45 km south-west of Timaru. In July 1854 Michael Studholme reached an agreement with Te Huruhuru, leader of the local Māori, to found the Te Waimate sheep run. There were more than 1,200 hectares of native forest in the area, and the town of Waimate began as a sawmilling settlement. Five mills were operating by 1877 (when the branch railway reached the town), but a bush fire the following year ended the industry. As a rural service centre, Waimate received a boost when the Waikākahi Estate was subdivided in 1899.
Meaning of place name
The name was originally Waimatemate, wai: water; matemate: dead or stagnant. Until the floods came the creeks became blocked, with many stagnant pools.