Marlborough became a separate province in 1859. In 1876 the province was replaced by three counties – Sounds, Marlborough and Kaikōura – but the main work of local government was carried out by roads boards or special purpose authorities, such as the Wairau River Board, which was responsible for flood control. Two boroughs were established: Blenheim in 1869 and Picton in 1876. In 1912 Awatere county was separated from Marlborough. Marlborough took over the thinly-populated Sounds county in 1965 and Awatere in 1976. In 1989 Marlborough county and the two boroughs united as Marlborough district. Kaikōura remained separate, and from 1992 was affiliated with the Canterbury regional council, Environment Canterbury.
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