Canterbury region on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The third-largest centre in Canterbury (after Christchurch and Timaru), it is the main centre of Mid-Canterbury. The Māori name for the town/area is Hakatere.
Ashburton is located on State Highway 1 86 km south of Christchurch. The Main South Line portion of the South Island Main Trunk Railway also runs through the centre of town, but passenger services ceased on 10 February 2002. The town is the centre of a rich agricultural and pastoral farming district, part of the Canterbury Plains. It has one large relatively separate suburb, Tinwald, which is south of the main town and Ashburton River. Tinwald was once the junction for the now-closed Mount Somers Branch railway line.
Description courtesy of Wikipedia