Birdlings Flat

  (Redirected from Birdling's Flat)

Birdlings Flat, originally named Te Mata Hapuku, is a settlement in Canterbury, New Zealand, close to the shore of Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora.

Birdlings Flat
Fishing at Birdling's Flat
Fishing at Birdling's Flat
Coordinates: 43°49′28″S 172°42′21″E / 43.824415°S 172.70575°E / -43.824415; 172.70575Coordinates: 43°49′28″S 172°42′21″E / 43.824415°S 172.70575°E / -43.824415; 172.70575
CountryNew Zealand
RegionCanterbury Region
DistrictChristchurch City
WardBanks Peninsula
 • Total0.44 km2 (0.17 sq mi)
 (2018 Census)[2]
 • Total195
 • Density440/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
William Birdling (1822–1902)
Pebbles from Birdling's Flat

Birdling's Flat also commonly refers to the nearby pebble beach that is part of Kaitorete Spit. The beach is well known as a place to find small agates and a variety of other attractive rounded pebbles. Due to strong ocean currents, swimming and surfing is not advised.

Birdlings Flat is named for the Birdling family, who were the first European Settlers to farm the area. William Birdling was the first member of the Birdling family to arrive in New Zealand.[3] He was employed by George Rhodes in 1843 to come to Banks Peninsula and work as his overseer. William built a house, Waikoko, in the area which was later to bear his name.

On 16 May 1882, a branch line railway was opened to Birdlings Flat from a junction with the Southbridge Branch in Lincoln. This line became known as the Little River Branch, with the extension to Little River opened on 11 March 1886. The railway served Birdlings Flat until its closure on 30 June 1962. The railway's old formation remained well preserved and has now been revitalised into a public walking and cycling track, the Little River Rail Trail.

It has been used as a launch site for sounding rockets. The University of Canterbury has a meteorological research station based there. Hector's dolphins live along the beach in notable numbers,[4] and whales,[5] fur seals, much rarer whales and elephant seals are known to appear to cavort and rest.


Birdlings Flat is described by Statistics New Zealand as a rural settlement and covers 0.44 km2 (0.17 sq mi).[1] It is part of the Banks Peninsula South SA2 statistical area.[6]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [2]

Birdlings Flat had a population of 195 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 45 people (30.0%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 42 people (27.5%) since the 2006 census. There were 96 households. There were 105 males and 93 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.13 males per female. The median age was 50.1 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 30 people (15.4%) aged under 15 years, 12 (6.2%) aged 15 to 29, 126 (64.6%) aged 30 to 64, and 27 (13.8%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 83.1% European/Pākehā, 21.5% Māori, 4.6% Asian, and 6.2% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 49.2% had no religion, 30.8% were Christian and 9.2% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 39 (23.6%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 30 (18.2%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $29,500, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 90 (54.5%) people were employed full-time, 18 (10.9%) were part-time, and 3 (1.8%) were unemployed.[2]


  1. ^ a b "ArcGIS Web Application". Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. 7026648 (7026648). 2018 Census place summary: 7026648
  3. ^ Fletcher, Jack (16 August 2018). "Birdlings Flat: A haven for fossickers and those seeking escape". Stuff. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  4. ^ "ArcGIS Web Application".
  5. ^
  6. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Banks Peninsula South
  • Bradley, Barry (1999). New Zealand Atlas. Auckland, NZ: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-028914-3.
  • Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4.

External linksEdit