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Gareth Eyres


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The name "Otago" is an old southern Maori word whose North Island dialect equivalent is "Otakou" and it was introduced to the south by Europeans. "Otago" is also the old name of the European settlement on the Otago Harbour, established by the Weller Brothers in 1831. Otago is a region  in the south of the South Island. It has an area of approximately 32,000 square kilometres (12,000 sq miles) making it New Zealand’s second largest region. It has a population of 205,400 from the June 2009 estimate.

Soon after settlement first began, Otago became the focus of the Otago Association, an offshoot of the Free Church of Scotland, notable for its high-minded adoption of the principle that ordinary people, not the landowner, should choose the ministers. Major centres of what is now the Otago Region include Dunedin (the principal city of the region), Oamaru (made famous by author Janet Frame), Balclutha, Alexandra, and the major tourist centres Queenstown and Wanaka. Kaitangata in South Otago is a prominent source of coal. The Waitaki and Clutha rivers also provide much of the country's hydro-electric power. Some parts of the area originally covered by Otago Province are now administered as part of Southland Region.

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