Dunedin: Edinburgh of the south

The Univeristy of Otago in Dunedin Picture: Getty Images
The Univeristy of Otago in Dunedin Picture: Getty Images
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New Zealand’s Dunedin owes its roots, as well as its name, to Scotland.

Founded in 1848, the settlement on the south-east coast of South Island was named from the Gaelic for Edinburgh - Dùn Èideann.

The first European settlers were members of Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland, who were led by Edinburgh-born Captain William Cargill and the Reverend Thomas Burns, a nephew of poet Robert Burns.

Surveyor Charles Kettle was told to replicate the building style of Scotland’s capital, and this was done, even down to the naming of streets such as George Street and Princes Street, where a monument to Captain Cargill stands today.

Nestled in tree-clad hills at the head of a spectacular harbour, Dunedin is the main centre of, and the gateway to, the Otago region.

The university city has a population of around 123,000, with around 25,000 students.

The Scottish roots of the city are obvious in the names of some of the city’s suburbs – Waverley, Leith Valley, Corstorphine, Musselburgh and Portobello.

Dunedin claims Baldwin Street as the steepest street in the world, while Otago Girls’ High School was one of the first state-run secondary schools for girls in the world.

The University of Otago, New Zealand’s oldest university was the first in the country to admit women to all its classes. It is also the South Island’s largest employer.

The city is also home to New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and has a number of international standard venues for sports including the Caledonian Ground for football and athletics .

Rugby union team the Otago Highlanders are based in the city and are due to play home games at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in the coming season, and the Ice Stadium has the biggest curling rink in the southern hemisphere.