Bluff, New Zealand

Bluff (Māori: Motupōhue), previously known as Campbelltown and often referred to as "The Bluff", is a town and seaport in the Southland region, on the southern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the southernmost town in mainland New Zealand and, despite Slope Point and Stewart Island being further south, Bluff is colloquially used to refer to the southern extremity of the country (particularly in the phrase "from Cape Reinga to The Bluff"). According to the 2006 census, the resident population was 1,850, a decrease of 85 since 2001.[1]

The Bluff area was one of the earliest areas of New Zealand where a European presence became established. The first ship known to have entered the harbour was the Perseverance in 1813, in search of flax trading possibilities, with the first European settlers arriving in 1823 or 1824.

This is the foundation for the claim[2] that Bluff is the oldest permanent European settlement in the country. However, the missionary settlement at Kerikeri was both earlier and larger. The town was officially called Campbelltown in 1856, became a borough in 1878, and was renamed Bluff in 1917.[3]

Bluff is located in New Zealand
Bluff signpost
Signpost at Stirling Point, Bluff


Awarua nasa
Awarua Plain (top), Tiwai Point (centre) and Bluff (lower left) viewed from the International Space Station in 2008

Bluff is 30 km (20 mi) by road from Invercargill, and the southern terminus of the Bluff Branch, the continuation from Invercargill of the Main South Line. This was one of New Zealand's earliest railways, opening on 5 February 1867.[4]

Bluff is at the end of a peninsula that forms the western side of Bluff Harbour and Awarua Bay, with the port located in the relatively narrow entrance channel. It is on State Highway 1, which terminates one kilometre to the south of the town at Stirling Point. At Stirling Point there is a signpost showing the distance and direction to various major cities and locations around the world, including the Equator and the South Pole.

Bluff is dominated by Bluff Hill / Motupohue (standing at 265 m (870 ft)), which provides some shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. There is a world-class walk along the shore through native bush up to this point. The town is named for this bluff, which was known to early whalers as Old Man's Bluff or Old Man Bluff. East across the entry channel from Bluff is Tiwai Point, home to New Zealand's only aluminium smelter and its wharf. Alumina is shipped from Australia and electricity is supplied by the Manapouri Power Station in Fiordland National Park.

A chain sculpture on the coast near Bluff symbolises the Maori view that Stewart Island is anchored to South Island; a similar sculpture in Rakiura National Park represents the other end of the chain.


South Port is the port operating company of the Port of Bluff, and is owned to 66.5% by the Southland Regional Council.[5] A small port in comparison with New Zealand giants like Ports of Auckland or Port of Tauranga, it moves around 2.2 million tonnes of cargo each year, mostly New Zealand coastal reshipment. The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter and fossil fuel exploration activity in the Great South Basin may ensure the future relevance of the port.[6] A recent (2008) weekly container ship service also lifted the volumes.[7]

Bluff Harbour is the terminus for the twice-daily catamaran ferry to Stewart Island / Rakiura, 60 kilometres (37 mi) south across Foveaux Strait. It is the main gateway for New Zealand ships heading down to the Antarctic. The harbour is home to the Foveaux Strait oyster fleet. Bluff oysters are renowned for their succulence and flavour, and are considered a delicacy nationwide, with Bluff holding an annual oyster festival.[8] The oyster quota was severely reduced during the 1990s due to the effects of the toxic protozoan parasite Bonamia exitiosa upon the oyster beds.[9]


Te Rau Aroha Marae is located at Bluff. It is a marae (meeting ground) for the Awarua Rūnanga branch of Ngāi Tahu, and includes the Tahu Potiki wharenui.[10][11]


Flutey paua house 049
Flutey paua house at Canterbury Museum

The town previously included the Paua House, created by Fred and Myrtle Flutey. This was an ordinary bungalow transformed by having the outside walls totally covered in paua shells. The interior was also extensively decorated with paua and there is an extensive collection of (often kitsch) paua-decorated ornaments, utensils and trinkets.

The house became a museum after the death of the owners, but was sold and in March 2007 the exhibits removed to Christchurch. It has been on permanent display at the Canterbury Museum since July 2008.[12]

The Bluff Maritime Museum contains an extensive collection of models, boats, artefacts, displays, a working triple expansion engine and a full sized oystering boat, the Monica.

Bluff Hill
Panorama from the summit of Bluff Hill. The Bluff port is in the centre, and the aluminium smelter in the mid-distance in the centre-right

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ Population Estimates at 30 June 2006 Archived 16 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine (from the Statistics New Zealand website)
  2. ^ Bluff history – an overview Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine (from the '' website. Accessed 14 December 2008.)
  3. ^ BLUFF – Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved on 2 August 2013.
  4. ^ "A look at Bluff's past – part 2". Archived from the original on 3 June 2010.
  5. ^ "South Port downplays prospect of bonanza". The New Zealand Herald. 28 September 2006. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  6. ^ "South Port counts on hub feeder network". The New Zealand Herald. 28 September 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  7. ^ "South Port lifts profit forecast". The New Zealand Herald. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Bluff keeps oyster festival after community rallies". The New Zealand Herald. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Shellfish Fisheries" (PDF). Ministry of Fisheries. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  10. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". Te Puni Kōkiri.
  11. ^ "Māori Maps". Te Potiki National Trust.
  12. ^ "Paua shell house display at Canterbury Museum". Otago Daily Times. 5 July 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  • Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4.

External links

Coordinates: 46°36′S 168°20′E / 46.600°S 168.333°E

Alf Budd (rugby union, born 1922)

Thomas Alfred "Alf" Budd (1 August 1922 – 8 March 1989) was a New Zealand rugby union player. A lock, Budd represented Southland at a provincial level, and was a member of the New Zealand national side, the All Blacks, for one match in each of 1946 and 1949. Both of his appearances for the All Blacks were Test matches against Australia.Budd died in Whangarei on 8 March 1989, and he was buried at Onerahi Cemetery.

Awarua Plains

The Awarua Plain is a large area of wetland to the east of Bluff, New Zealand. Covering an area of around 600 km², the plain stretches for 35 kilometres along the coast of Foveaux Strait. This stretch of coast includes the peninsula of Tiwai Point, Awarua Bay, the Waituna Lagoon, and Toetoes Bay. The Mataura River is the major river responsible for the presence of the Awarua Plain; along with the Oreti River, it is a remnant of the rivers from the Ice Ages that formed the Southland Plains (Murihiku). In addition, several small streams enter Foveaux Strait along this stretch of coast, mainly via Awarua Bay and Waituna Lagoon.

Bluff Branch

The Bluff Branch, officially the Bluff Line since 2011, is a railway line in Southland, New Zealand that links Invercargill with the port of Bluff. One of the first railways in New Zealand, it opened in 1867 and is still operating. Presently, it essentially functions as an elongated industrial siding.

Bluff Harbour

Bluff Harbour is a harbour and lagoon in the South Island, New Zealand town of Bluff. The main port facilities are located close to the entrance of a large natural inlet (also known as Bluff Harbour) which includes a large, low-lying eastern arm, Awarua Bay, immediately to the east of the promontory which gives the town and harbour its name.

Bluff Maritime Museum

The Bluff Maritime Museum is located in New Zealand's southern-most port of Bluff. The museum is situated on Foreshore Road and contains an extensive collection of Bluff's maritime heritage.

Charles Stephen Longuet

Charles Stephen Longuet (1861 – 10 October 1941) was the 27th Mayor of Invercargill from 1901 to 1902, and from 1909 to 1910. He had been on the Borough Council since 1897.

He was born in Bluff and educated in Invercargill. A lawyer, he was called to the bar in 1890 and had been the President of the Law Society.

Cilla McQueen

Priscilla Muriel "Cilla" McQueen (born 22 January 1949 in Birmingham, England) is a poet and three-time winner of the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry.

Cliff Skeggs

Sir Clifford George (Cliff) Skeggs (born 19 March 1931) is a New Zealand businessman from Dunedin, and was Mayor of Dunedin from 1977 to 1989.

Joseph Ward

Sir Joseph George Ward of Wellington, 1st Baronet, (26 April 1856 – 8 July 1930) was a New Zealand politician who served as the 17th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1906 to 1912 and from 1928 to 1930. He was a dominant figure in the Liberal and United ministries of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Ward was born into an Irish Catholic family in Melbourne, Victoria. In 1863, financial hardship forced his family to move to New Zealand, where he completed his education. Ward established a successful grain trade in Invercargill in 1877 and soon became prominent in local politics. He became a Member of Parliament in 1887. Following the election of the Liberal Government in 1891, Ward was appointed as Postmaster-General under John Ballance; he was promoted to Minister of Finance in the succeeding ministry of Richard Seddon.

Ward became Prime Minister on 6 August 1906, following Seddon's death two months earlier. In his first period of government, Ward advocated greater unity within the British Empire, led New Zealand to Dominion status, and increased New Zealand's contribution to the Royal Navy. His government faced strong opposition from the Reform Party and the newly-formed socialist parties. He led the Liberal Party to two election victories, in 1908 and 1911, albeit with a one-seat majority in the latter. He resigned as head of government on 28 March 1912.

During the First World War, Ward led his party in a coalition with the Reform Party. As co-leader of the government, Ward had a strained working relationship with Prime Minister William Massey. The coalition was dissolved in 1919 and Ward resigned as Liberal leader.

After a six-year absence from national politics, Ward returned to parliament in 1925. He became Prime Minister on 10 December 1928, as leader of the United Party, which had formed from the remnants of the former Liberal Party. Ward attempted to rejuvenate liberal support in New Zealand but his party lost ground to the New Zealand Labour Party. Failing health forced his retirement from leadership on 28 May 1930.

Marcus Lush

Marcus Lush (born July 1965) is a television and radio presenter in New Zealand.

He made his first footsteps into television in the 1990s as a reporter co-presenting TV2's Newsnight alongside Simon Dallow and Alison Mau, but it was a 2003 episode of travel show, Intrepid Journeys, that set him on a new broadcasting path. Since then the longtime talkback radio host has won acclaim and awards for Off the Rails, which chronicles his journey along New Zealand's railway lines, and he spent a month in Antarctica for the series, Ice. In December 2008 Lush began work on a new television series, South, in which he explores Southland and Otago. South went to air in August 2009.

Lush was raised largely in Auckland, the fourth son of a printer and a speech therapist. He began his long career in talkback by presenting a show on student station Radio B (now 95bFM), where he worked alongside Eating Media Lunch co-creator Paul Casserly. At the age of 24, he went on to take over the graveyard talkback shift on 1ZB. During the late 1990s, he hosted the breakfast show on Auckland's 91ZM and from 2000 it was heard nationwide, except in Wellington and Christchurch. Lush's ZM programme was axed in 2001 when the 91ZM Wellington breakfast show hosted by Polly and Grant took over.

Marcus Lush moved to Southland in 2002 to host the breakfast show on Foveaux FM, but left the station in 2004, and in 2005 began presenting an evening talkback programme on the newly established Radio Live. In 2007, he then became breakfast host on Radio Live. In 2014 it was announced Lush would come back to ZB and in January 2016 he started his new talkback programme, Marcus Lush Nights, broadcasting nationwide every weeknight on Newstalk ZB from 8pm to midnight.

Television shows presented by Lush include Newsnight, Off the Rails: A Love Story, South and North.

Ocean Beach (Bluff Harbour)

Original flying boat alighting area in Bluff Harbour, Bluff, Southland, New Zealand. Controlled by the Bluff Harbour Board, was used by the RNZAF for flying boat operations (until 1966) when patrolling New Zealand's southern sub-Antarctic islands. Short Sunderland and Consolidated Catalina aircraft types were regular visitors.In the late 1950s, Ansett Australia operated four chartered international flights using Short Sandringham flying boats. A local launch, small jetty and customs terminal was provided and passengers hurried onto buses for the short ride to Invercargill. This was an early attempt to open the southern region to mass tourism.Eventually the flying boat era was replaced by more efficient land based airliners and the alighting area delisted as an airport.

Ocean Chief (clipper)

Ocean Chief was a clipper ship used in a regular packet service and as a passenger ship for bounty emigrants to Australia between June 1854 and December 1861 at the time of the Australian gold rushes.

Paul Henderson (rugby union)

Paul William Henderson (born 21 September 1964) is a former New Zealand rugby union player. A flanker, Henderson represented Southland and Otago at a provincial level and the Highlanders in Super Rugby. He was a member of the New Zealand national side, the All Blacks, between 1989 and 1995, playing 25 matches for the team, including seven internationals. He captained the All Blacks on one occasion, in their 145–17 victory over Japan at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Richard Wixon

Richard Wixon (born 19 February 1957) is a New Zealand former cricketer. He played first-class and List A matches for Central Districts and Otago between 1991 and 1995.

Robert Agrippa Moengaroa Whaitiri

Robert Agrippa Moengaroa Whaitiri (9 May 1916 – 11 July 1996) was a notable New Zealand guide, soldier, launch and tug master, factory manager, community leader. Of Māori descent, he identified with the Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe and Waitaha iwi. He was born in Bluff, Southland, New Zealand in 1916.

Rose Hinchey

Rose Moore Hinchey RRC (21 June 1910 – 4 August 1981) was a New Zealand civilian and military nurse.

Stirling Point

Stirling Point is a landmark at the southern end of the New Zealand town of Bluff, New Zealand. It is notable as the southern end of both State Highway 1 and the Te Araroa Trail; both these facilities span the length of the country. Stirling Point hosts a signpost with multiple directional signs; it is one of the most photographed items in Southland. Stirling Point has an anchor chain sculpture which replicates the sculpture on Stewart Island.

Tiwai Point

Tiwai Point lies at the entrance to Bluff

Harbour on the southern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. A spit which extends from the western end of the Awarua Plain, it lies between Awarua Bay to the north and Foveaux Strait to the south. It is known for the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter, one of the largest industrial facilities in New Zealand.

Vincent Ward (politician)

Vincent Aubrey Ward (4 January 1886 – 9 February 1946) was a New Zealand Member of Parliament and a Member of the Legislative Council.

Suburbs and localities in Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand
Major settlements
Inner Invercargill
Outer Invercargill

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