Our people

Our people

This place of powerful character has definitely shaped the kind of people we are. People with big hearts and stoic determination where people have made a difference.

Brave to the bone

Consider the early determination of the 14,000 prospectors who braved the elements dredging for their fortune in the mid-1860s. They left behind a special spirit which continues to be celebrated today. The miners, merino farmers, masons, ministers, mothers, publicans coachman, firemen, all taking risks to survive in this unforgiving country. They didn’t pass through, they stayed and survived here. They lived lives on the edge. They dug in, burnt tussock, grazed the land and brought up families, they are the Tangata Whenua. Their Whakapapa may go back to Dublin, London, Peking or Scotland, nevertheless their sheer guts and determination was heroic.

Stoic pioneering spirit

We are proud of that rugged, tough and sinewy character of our early pioneers. That same stoic pioneering spirit that braved the elements to break the land still binds us together as a community today.

In Central Otago we are a diverse group of people sparsely spread over a wide, remote rugged region. That sense of remoteness has shaped the way we live our lives. We are a collection of communities fiercely independent and competitive yet united in our love for Central Otago, its landscapes, people, climate, its stories and its vision. Each town or settlement is ‘parts of the sum’.

A place of big hearts

Our long proud history reflects a bygone era when times were tough and resources limited and communities and neighbours needed each other to get things done. It was without question people shared their time, resources and talents - they look out for each other. That ‘can do’ attitude of a bygone era has stood the test of time. After all to survive here in Central Otago you have to be resourceful and innovate.

Celebrating our People

As part of celebrating our people, every two years the Central Otago Awards are presented to businesses and individuals who exemplify the spirit of our region.

The Awards are about celebrating excellence, innovation, and the amazing contribution many make to our region. We want to honour those businesses and individuals that truly integrate our regional values into their everyday lives.