Text Size: BIGGER | SMALLER | Reset

You are here: Home / Synod


In 1844 the Rev Thomas Burns wrote to Captain William Cargill concerning proposals for a Scots Church settlement in Otago New Zealand:

"If it shall be God's will that we shall succeed in establishing this colony, I persuade myself that with His blessing attending us, we may be instrumental in planting down in these favoured islands a well ordered God fearing community that may stand in these remote regions a sample of the Kingdom of Christ which, like a light burning in a dark place, shall bear no indistinct testimony to the Truth."

This vision led to the arrival of the first Otago settlers in 1848, with Cargill on the "John Wickliffe" and Burns on the "Phillip Lang".  They founded the City of Dunedin, the Province of Otago, and the Presbyterian Church of Otago.

The Synod of Otago and Southland is part of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.  The Synod  area covers the lower third of New Zealand's South Island being the Otago and Southland regions and is some 80,000 square kilometres in size.  To the north is the Waitaki river which marks the boundary between Canterbury (north of the river) and Otago.   

There are, at present, some 76 Presbyterian parishes in 5 Presbyteries in the Synod area. 

The landscape is diverse with lush pasture in more coastal areas and a more arid inland area with lakes and winter snow-capped mountains as well as the fiords of the Fiordland National Park.  The major urban centres are Dunedin, the principal city of the Otago region and Invercargill, the main centre for the Southland region.
Land use covers sheep, cattle and dairying to fruit orchards and vineyards.  Tourism is a major feature centred in Central Otago with Queenstown the hub for that industry.

Presbyterian Synod Of Otago and Southland.
Phone: {03} 477 7365
Fax: {03} 477 6736
synod logo
Level 5, Evan Parry House,
43 Princes St, Dunedin.
P O Box 1131,
© 2009 Synod of Otago and Southland | Design by thirdman | Powered by Boss