Looking South down State Highway 1 in central Ashburton.
Ashburton is named after Lord Ashburton, who was one of the members of the Canterbury Association, which had purchased a large tract of land in the South Island, lying between the Waipara and the Ashburton rivers, from the New Zealand Land Company, at ten shillings per acre. This land the Association sold, in lots to suit intending colonists, at £3 per acre. Out of this money it deducted the ten shillings per acre it had paid for the land, and devoted ten shillings towards the formation of roads; £1 towards churches and schools; and £1 as a subsidy to the passage money of the early colonists. Among the first settlers from the Old Country there were many University men, and the agricultural labourers they brought out were picked from the English counties. Cropping first commenced in the district in the early sixties.