Mackenzie Basin

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Mackenzie Basin

The Mackenzie Basin (popularly and traditionally known as the Mackenzie Country) is an elliptical intermontane basin located in the Mackenzie and Waitaki Districts, near the centre of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the largest such basin in New Zealand. Historically famous mainly for sheep farming, the sparsely populated area is now also a popular tourism destination.

The basin was named in the 1850s by and after James Mckenzie (or in his native Scottish Gaelic: Seumas MacCoinneach), a shepherd and would-be farmer of Scottish origin. Mckenzie was captured for allegedly stealing sheep; he herded his flocks in what was then an area almost totally empty of any human habitation, though Māori previously lived there intermittently. After his capture, the area was soon divided up amongst new sheep pasture stations in 1857.

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