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Geraldine

4.4
Geraldine or Heratini is a town in the Canterbury Region on the South Island of New Zealand. It is about 140 km south of Christchurch, and inland from Timaru, which is 35 km to the south. Geraldine has a country village atmosphere, with majestic old forests, early settlers cottages and little arts and crafts corners.HistoryThe Geraldine area started to be settled by Europeans in the 1840s and it was in 1854 that Samuel Hewlings built the first bark hut in Talbot Street. He married a Māori woman, Nga Hei, and the totara tree that he planted to mark the birth of their daughter still stands. Sheep runs were quickly established in the area together with pit saw milling of the native bush. When the bush had been cleared, wheat crops were grown across the plains.Originally called Talbot Forest, Geraldine was renamed FitzGerald in 1857 after the first superintendent of Canterbury, the Irishman James Edward FitzGerald. The name was finally changed to Geraldine, which was the FitzGeralds' family name in Ireland.Geraldine became a Town Board in 1884 and a Borough in 1905. It was incorporated in the Ashburton electorate in 1908, when its hotels were closed. It remained "dry" until 1950, when the Geraldine Licensing Trust Hotel opened.TodayGeraldine’s reputation as a home to artists and artisans is growing all the time and many of these people have their work on sale in the town itself or from nearby studios. The town is overlooked by nearby Talbot forest which has a number of short walks among the ancient podocarp native trees. Usually on display in a local shop (The Giant Jersey) is a recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry. It is at approximately half scale. The owners of the shop are on extended holiday and as such the tapestry is no longer visible. The store also used to house the world's largest jersey which is now on display at the Geraldine Information Centre located in the Kiwi Country complex on Waihi Terrace.
Geraldine is in Canterbury Region. Use our New Zealand trip planner to arrange your visit to Geraldine and other destinations in New Zealand.
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