Naseby is situated on the Upper Taieri Plain at an altitude of about 2,000 ft. The Hawkdun Range rises to the north-west and the Kakanui Mountains run to the east of the town. Elsewhere the surrounding country is gently undulating. Naseby is 9 miles north-west by road from Ranfurly, the nearest large town on the Dunedin-Cromwell branch railway, and 90 miles north-west, via Middlemarch, from Dunedin. The main activities of the district are sheep raising and forestry. Logging and other forestry work is carried on by the New Zealand Forest Service at Naseby Plantation, 4 miles from the town.
Naseby came into existence with the discovery of gold in the district in 1863. Like many other Central Otago settlements, its name changed from time to time. It was first called Parker's, then Hogburn and, for some years prior to 1874, Mt. Ida. Gold was won by hydraulic sluicing, the Government aiding the industry by building several miles of water race in 1875 and, later, reservoirs. Since the mid-1920s gold mining has steadily declined and has now ceased. Hydraulic sluicing has destroyed much land, but larch and other coniferous trees have been established on the old workings and have largely arrested the progressive erosion. The original function of Naseby as a centre for a mining community has long been lost and many of the main services of the town have been absorbed by Ranfurly. The Naseby Early Settlers' Museum contains interesting relics of the early days. Much valuable information on the mining and social activities of the district is contained in the local newspaper, Mount Ida Chronicle, which ran from February 1869 to December 1926. In all probability the town was named after Naseby, England. It became a borough in 1872. Naseby is now a popular holiday resort.
POPULATION: 1951 census, 204; 1956 census, 189; 1961 census, 155.
by Brian Newton Davis, M.A., Vicar, St. Philips, Karori West, Wellington and Edward Stewart Dollimore, Research Officer, Department of Lands and Survey, Wellington.