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Mx Gazetteer for New Zealand

All contributed landmark postings are shown below. Selecting a country from the list will display all landmarks for that country. Selecting the Landmark Name will display a full page of information including an interactive map and possibly additional information. If you find one we have missed (and there are many) drop an email to our webmaster with a picture and description.

Molineux River

South Island, New Zealand
Contributed by: Dr. Mike Inskip   |   01 Feb 2006

The crew of the Endeavour did not realise that Molineux’s Harbour was in fact the mouth of a mighty river known to the Maori as the Mata- Au (‘surface current’). This river has the greatest average annual flow in New Zealand. It is fed by the glaciers and snow of the Southern Alps. As the early European settlers moved inland in the early 19th century they called the Mata-Au the Molineux River. In the 1860s this remote province’s population swelled hugely in a gold rush that moved inland along the Molineux. The miners (many of whom could not swim) feared and respected its tremendous power and boiling currents and deferred to it as the ‘Mighty Molineux’.

The first waves of gold miners were individual opportunists mainly from Australian Irish and Chinese extraction. They were out to make their fortune. Instead many perished in the extremes of the Otago winter.

Later bigger, more organised schemes took over. They used ‘sluicing’ – blasting the soil out of hillsides with water cannon or ‘dredging’ the Molineux River itself. These schemes went on well into the early 20th century and there is still commercial gold mining in Otago today.

The suggestion of officially changing the name of the river from Molineux to ‘Clutha’ (Scottish Gaelic for ‘Clyde’) was first made in 1846 at the time of the first organised Scottish settlement projects in New Zealand. The change took a long time to be accepted and the Molineux name persisted well into the 20th century. The Molineux River is now known as the ‘Clutha’

The Clutha River / Mata-Au is the second longest river in New Zealand and the longest in the South Island. It flows south-southeast 338 kilometres (210 mi) through Central and South Otago from Lake Wanaka in the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean, 75 kilometres (47 mi) south west of Dunedin. It is the highest volume river in New Zealand, and the swiftest, with a catchment of 21,960 square kilometres (8,480 sq mi), discharging a mean flow of 614 cubic metres per second (21,700 cu ft/s). The Clutha River is known for its scenery, gold-rush history, and swift turquoise waters.


 

Molineux's Harbour

South Island New Zealand
Contributed by: Dr. Mike Inskip   |   01 Feb 2006

Molineux’s name lives on in the southern New Zealand province of Otago in the former name of the country’s mightiest river. Here’s the story.

The Naming of ‘Molineux’s Harbour’
In late February 1771 the Endeavour was making it’s way southwards down the completely uncharted east coast of the south island.Cook wanted to know whether New Zealand was an island or the northern part of a great southern continent.As he sailed off the coast of what is now the city of Dunedin a storm blew the ship over 100 miles out to sea and it took nearly a week for the ship to resume sight of the coast.Here’s the entry from the journal of Sydney Parkinson the ship’s artist:

4 March 1770
‘ after having beat about near a week, by the favour of a breeze from the north, we got sight of land again, which tended away to the S. W. and by W. and appeared to be of great extent. We had a continual rolling swell from the S. W. and saw the appearance of a harbour, which we named Molineux’s Harbour, after the name of the master of our ship.’


 

Molyneux Avenue

Cromwell, New Zealand
Contributed by: US329 Jim Molineux   |   15 Dec 2014

Consensus regarding the source of this place name, is that it refers to Captain Cook’s sailing master, the eponymous Robert Mollineux/Molineux/Molyneux (of Hale, Lancs, England), source of multiple place names in New Zealand to include: Molyneux Bay, Port Molyneux, Molineux’s Harbour, and the Molineux/Molyneux (now Clutha) River.

Facebook contributor, and new IMFA member, NZ008 Philip Molineux, wrote: “Living in NZ helps and having been to museums with James Cook's artifacts over the years helps in that Robert Molyneux was the master on the HM Endeavour that arrived in NZ in the late 1700s. Cook even named a river Molyneux River that later got renamed to Clutha. The name gets repeated a lot due to historical connection but the river runs close to Cromwell.”

While our incoming president, UK188 Antony Molyneux Steele, wrote: “The name in New Zealand could have something to do with the River Clutha otherwise known as The Molyneux. During New Zealand's early colonial history it was known as the Molyneux, the name given by captain Cook.”


 

Molyneux Bay

Otago, South Island, New Zealand
Contributed by: US137 Charles Molineaux   |   29 May 2014

“Tranquility surrounds Molyneux Bay in Otago, New Zealand as the tide starts its inward journey sending the aqua colored water lapping up along the beach. Around the bay, visitors will often spot Hooker's Sea Lions resting atop the rocks and when the tide heads outs, the Hooker's Sea Lions will be found as they flop themselves out on the sandy beach.

Off in the distance, Nugget Point juts out into the water and atop the ridge stands Nugget Point Lighthouse. A road winds its way along the coastal shores of Molyneux Bay, passing by a few residential homes, towards the Nugget Point Lighthouse where the view is stunning.

Nugget Point and Nugget Point Lighthouse seen from Molyneux Bay, Catlins, Catlins Highway, Southern Scenic Route, Otago, South Island, East Coast, New Zealand.” (http://www.new-zealand-pictures.co.nz/photo/molyneux-bay-view-nugget-point-otago-new-zealand-2113.htm)

History: “Named by Captain James Cook after his sailing master, Robert Mollineux (of Hale, Lancs, England).” (Place names in New Zealand originating from seamen and ships!, http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nzbound/placenames.htm)

“Molineux’s name lives on in the southern New Zealand province of Otago in the former name of the country’s mightiest river. Here’s the story.

The Naming of ‘Molineux’s Harbour’ In late February 1771 the Endeavour was making it’s way southwards down the completely uncharted east coast of the south island.Cook wanted to know whether New Zealand was an island or the northern part of a great southern continent. As he sailed off the coast of what is now the city of Dunedin a storm blew the ship over 100 miles out to sea and it took nearly a week for the ship to resume sight of the coast.

Here’s the entry from the journal of Sydney Parkinson the ship’s artist:
4 March 1770 ‘after having beat about near a week, by the favour of a breeze from the north, we got sight of land again, which tended away to the S. W. and by W. and appeared to be of great extent. We had a continual rolling swell from the S. W. and saw the appearance of a harbour, which we named Molineux’s Harbour, after the name of the master of our ship.” 


 

Port Molyneux

Otago, South Island, New Zealand
Contributed by: US332 Wayne Straight   |   30 Aug 2014

“When people came from Scotland to Dunedin many had purchased land around the surrounding districts of Balclutha. Port Molyneux was the place where the settlers docked when they came to find their land. When they got there, the Maori people greeted them and showed them where inland tracks were to their fifty-acre blocks.

At left is a part of the plat for the Town of Molyneux (aka: Town of Port Molyneux) drawn in June of 1864. We have approval from the National Library of New Zealand to use the map, with credit as follows: Shanks, C. B. (Charles Barnes), 1841-1922.. Plan of part of the town of Molyneux [electronic resource] / [surveyed by] C.B. Shanks.. Ref: 834.52bje 1861. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Whilst many of the settlers moved on inland to find their fifty-acre blocks of land, other people stayed back in the port and established the community of Port Molyneux. In the 1800's, the mouth of the Clutha River and the coastline surrounding it looked remarkably different to today. There was a large, long spit that stretched all the way across from Summerhill at Kaitangata almost right to Port Molyneux. Behind this spit was a large harbour where the river drained into the sea.

This harbour was the making of the the Port Molyneux township which, at the height of its prosperity, had two hotels, a Pilot and Customs office, several general stores, a hardware merchant, a butcher, a baker, a blacksmith, plus carpenters and other tradesmen. In addition, the town had a church (which later became the Kaka Point Church) and a school of forty pupils. By 1875, the town was considered to be well-established and growing.

Then, in 1878, a huge flood broke the banks of the spit at Summerhill and changed the course of the river and the town of Port Molyneux forever. The river mouth moved close to Summerhill, and the great harbour that was the lifeblood of the town was drained and turned into a large swamp area. After the flood, the population of the town dwindled rapidly and all that is left now is the Port Molyneux School and the Port Molyneux Hall, which was once the wharf building. The Port Molyneux Church still exists but was moved to Kaka Point in 1918.”