Alexandra (Māori: Areketanara) is a town in the Central Otago district of the Otago region of New Zealand. It is located on the banks of the Clutha River (at the confluence of the Manuherikia River), on State Highway 8, 188 kilometres (117 mi) by road from Dunedin and 33 kilometres (21 mi) south of Cromwell.
At the time of the 2006 census, the permanent population was 4,827, an increase of 423 since 2001. 23.1 per cent of the population (higher than the national average) was aged over 65.
The town was founded during the Central Otago goldrush in the 1860s, and was named afterAlexandra of Denmark by John Aitken Connell who surveyed the town. It was known to miners of the day by several names: the “Lower Township”, the “Junction Township”, and “Manuherikia”. (The “Upper Township” was Dunstan, now Clyde.)
Many orchards were destroyed in the 1980s as a result of construction, 10 km upriver, of the Clyde High Dam, which is the country’s third largesthydroelectric power station.
Alexandra is the service centre for a significant stone-fruit industry, which is celebrated by a blossom festival in the town each spring. Grape production is another major industry in the Central Otago Wine Region. Alexandra has the world’s southernmost vineyard, Black Ridge.
The town is a popular holiday destination mainly due to the hot and sunny climate during summer.
Alexandra is perhaps best known for its annual event, the Alexandra Blossom Festival. The Alexandra Blossom Festival celebrates the advent of Spring in the Central Otago District as evidenced by the blooming of the fruit trees. In 2006 Alexandra celebrated its 50th Blossom Festival, which was held from 15 September to 1 October.
The Alexandra Aerodrome is Alexandra’s only airport. SPANZ, NAC and Mount Cook Airlines were main users of the airport till the 1980s. It is home to the Central Otago Flying Club, and gliding. It is reasonably quiet, and commercial passenger flights are no longer scheduled; Queenstown International Airport is the nearest facility for those.
Alexandra experiences a borderline oceanic/semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb/BSk), The district is one of the farthest from a coastline in New Zealand and experiences cold winters and warm summers relative to the rest of the country. Temperatures regularly drop below zero in winter and will rise above thirty degrees Celsius in the summer months. It is known to be one of the warmest areas in New Zealand during summer. The hottest temperature recorded in Alexandra is 37.2 °C (99 °F), while the coldest is −11.2 °C (12 °F)
Independently owned Blue Skies FM was established in 2001 as a radio station to serve the local community, broadcasing to the Alexandra basin, Cromwell, the Maniototo, Teviot Valley and beyond.
The station successfully established itself as the voice of the region, featuring regular guests from the local mayor to the Prime Minister, along with a raft of sports stars.
Its main driving force was its managing Director Mike Bain and his team that was behind him.
Announcers on air were Mike Bain, Jack Crookes and (JP)John Prestney.
Blue Skies FM ceased broadcasting at the end of September ’08 following a move be Mediaworks, who successfully negotiated a deal to take on the frequency to rebroadcast its Easy Listening Brand, “THE BREEZE”|The Breeze]].
Alexandra also has its own local More FM station with the studios being located in Alexandra. Previously this station was known as Radio Central. Central Otago’s More FM broadcasts into Roxburgh, Clyde and Cromwell. Wanaka also has More FM but this is a relay of the Queenstown More FM station (formerly known as Resort Radio).
Alexandra has three primary schools (Alexandra Primary School, Terrace Primary, and St Gerards). There is also one high school (Dunstan High School).
This is a list of mayors of the former Alexandra Borough. Many streets in Alexandra are named after former mayors.
|Robert Finlay 1867–1870 and 1886–1889||James Kelman 1898–1899 and 1901–1903||Archibald McKellar 1940–1947|
|John Chapple 1871–1872||Henry Symes 1900–1901||Bert Fox 1947–1953|
|William Beresford 1872–1873||George Spencer 1903–1906||George Campbell 1953–1959|
|James Samson 1873–1877||Henry Schaumann 1906–1910||Keith Blackmore 1959–1980|
|James Rivers 1877–1879 and 1894–1896||J Gregg 1910–1911||Ross Close 1980–1986|
|George McDonald 1882–1884||Edward Marslin 1911–1915||Russell Poole 1986–1989|
|JE Thompson 1884–1886||Archibald Ashworth 1915–1917|
|William Theyers 1890–1893 and 1895–1896||William Black 1917–1927|
|J Simmonds 1893–1984 and 1896–1897||William Bringans 1927–1940|