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Mackenzie District is a local government district in New Zealand's South Island administered by the Mackenzie District Council. It is part of the larger Canterbury region.

Mackenzie District
Territorial authority
Mackenzie District within the South Island
Mackenzie District within the South Island
Country New Zealand
Island South Island / Te Waipounamu
Region Canterbury
District Mackenzie District Council
Wards Opuha
Formed 1989
Seat Fairlie
 • Mayor Graham Smith
 • Deputy Mayor James Leslie
 • Total 7,339.23 km2 (2,833.69 sq mi)
Population (June 2017)[1]
 • Total 4,600
 • Density 0.63/km2 (1.6/sq mi)
Postcode(s) Map of postcodes
Website Mackenzie District Council


Principal settlementsEdit

The Mackenzie District only has three towns with a permanent population over 300 at the 2013 census:

  • Fairlie (pop. 690) – seat of the district
  • Twizel (pop. 1,140) – the district's largest town
  • Tekapo (pop. 370)

Other smaller settlements include:



A relatively weakly settled area, the district does have a wide number of farms. However, in the late 2000s, numerous proposals for new farming operations have locals fearing that the agriculture will be transformed from often family-held farms to large agribusiness operations, causing increased local ecologic damage and siphoning off capital overseas.[2]


The Mackenzie District has a dry temperate-continental climate with clear, crisp snowy winters and long, hot summers. Autumn is known for being a riot of colour, while spring brings wildflowers blooming throughout the region, including lupins. The warm summer season is from November to February, with temperatures often passing 30 degrees. In the cooler winter season, from June to September, temperatures drop to below 0 degrees Celsius overnight, while sunny winter days average around 8 degrees and regular snowfall.[3]


The MacKenzie Basin was named in the 1850s by and after James Mckenzie, a Scottish-origin shepherd and sheep thief, and the name transferred to the modern district.

Notable placesEdit





National parksEdit

List of MayorsEdit

Name Term of Office
Neil Anderson 1992–2001[4]
Stan Scorringe 2001–2004[5]
John O'Neill 2004–2010[6]
Claire Barlow 2010–2016[7]
Graham Smith 2016–present[8]


External linksEdit