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Geography & climate
Timaru District covers 2,737 square kilometres of South Canterbury. Two rivers naturally define its northern and southern boundaries, the Rangitata and Pareora, with the district stretching along the gentle curve of the South Canterbury coastline. The district enjoys a temperate climate, with Timaru enjoying an annual average of 1,826 hours of sunshine and 573mm of rain.
Timaru District recorded a slight population increase to just under 44,000 at the 2013 Census. Around 80% of Timaru District residents live in or around the four main settlements - Timaru, Temuka, Geraldine and Pleasant
The Timaru economy is strongly influenced by its agricultural heritage. Agriculture is diverse, including dairy, sheep and deer farming and land suitable for all kinds of grains and seeds. Significant manufacturing operations are located in the district, including Fonterra's Clandeboye dairy factory, McCain's food processing plant, DB Mainland Breweries, NZ Light Leathers, Alliance Group Smithfield plant, Silver Fern Farms Pareora plant and Barkers Fruit Processors. The district is centrally located for distribution and PrimePort provides a gateway for exports and imports.
Visitors are also a significant contributor to the district's economy, with the district providing a gateway to the central South Island.
Timaru is the largest community, housing nearly two thirds (25,900 people) of the total population of the district. The next largest community is Temuka (4,050), followed by Geraldine (2,300) and Pleasant Point (1,220).
Our communities are well serviced with education, health and recreational services along with a vast range of clubs and organisations. The South Canterbury District Health Board is the major health provider, with the Ara Institute of Canterbury providing tertiary educational services throughout the South Island.
The diverse landscapes of the Timaru District include rolling downlands, tussock land, coastal plains and wetlands, forest remnants, river gorges and rugged mountain ranges. The coastal plains to the north and downlands to the south are highly modified for intensive cropping, meat, wool and dairy production. Pasture and exotic woodlots dominate the modified hills and downs from Peel Forest to Cave, with occasional shrub and forest remnants. Limestone outcrops and volcanic sediment add to the diversity of the landforms.
The district is also defined by a number of waterways, including the Orari, Opihi, Rangitata, Waihi and Pareora Rivers. The waterways are highly valued by the community for their recreational, social, natural amenity and economic values. The district has a number of outstanding natural features and landscapes, as well as areas of significant native vegetation habitats of native fauna. There are also numerous important heritage sites, buildings and places.