Canterbury Province

Canterbury Province

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Canterbury Province

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Description:
The Canterbury Province was a province of New Zealand from 1853 until the abolition of provincial government in 1876. On the east coast the province was bounded by the Hurunui River in the north and the Waitaki River in the south. The boundary on the west coast was largely undefined before the West Coast became its own province.

The capital of the Province of Canterbury was Christchurch and it was there the Provincial Council sat. Elections were held in 1853 for Superintendent and, later that year, for the 12 member council. These elections pre-dated any elected national assembly. The franchise was extended to men over the age of 21 who owned property in the province. The council first sat in temporary facilities but later the Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings were completed in 1859 to house the council.

Geography

In 1868 the West Coast was separated from the Province with the formation of the County of Westland on the West Coast with the boundary line defined as the crest of the Southern Alps. In 1873 the County formed its own Province, the short-lived Westland Province.

In the south the course of the Waitaki River was not known and disputes arose with the Province of Otago over pastoral leases in the inland high country.

In the 1860s South Canterbury made two bids to become separate province but this was rejected by the national government. Instead in 1867 the General Assembly created the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works which received a proportion of the...
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