Kaikoura is a district that extends from the Conway in the south, nearly to the Waima river in the north. The geography is mostly very rugged, mountainous and drops rapidly to a narrow coastal landscape.
The landscape is dominated by the mountains, the coastline and the Peninsula.

The Kaikoura Wine Company winery site on the limestone bluff in South Bay overlooks the Peninsula, where the convergence of two ocean currents — one subtropical, the other subantarctic — makes the ocean rich in plankton, marine life and minerals. The continental shelf is closer to the coast in Kaikoura than in most other parts of New Zealand.

It has been suggested that Kaikoura was the site of the first Maori settlement in New Zealand. There is no doubt that early Maori favoured the region, with its abundance of seafood, seals, Moa hunting and other birds. Moa hunting sites have been found at every river-mouth in the region.

The Ngai Tahu, is the principal tribe holding mana (prestige, standing) whenua (lands, country) status in the South Island. For Kaikoura, the principal hapu (tribal sub group) is Ngai Kuri, the tribal council is Te Runanga O Kaikoura and the marae is Takahanga Marae. While Ngai Kuri is regarded as historically dominant and maintains its mana whenua status in the area, Kaikoura’s Maori population includes other Maori groups such as those who came looking for work in the 1940’s and 50’s.
inspection by European ships. The first shore based whaling station was established early in 1843, run on the ground by Robert Fyffe and John Murray.

Whaling continued on a small scale until 1920. Today Fyffe House, which can be viewed daily, stands as a living museum to this time.

1846 bought sheep farming to the region and the railway development. Although considered since the 1870’s, progress on the railway really only happened from 1895. Completion never happened until 1945! Fishing and lime were other assets that attributed to Kaikoura’s development.

Today Kaikoura is a place known for its relaxing lifestyle, abundant marine wildlife and unexpected beauty. The natural and unspoiled aspects of Kaikoura continue to attract visitors from within New Zealand and overseas.