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Dunedin was founded in 1848.

Rev. Thomas Burns, the great-nephew of renowned Scottish poet Robert Burns, was one of its founding fathers. As a result, the city has adopted Rabbie Burns as its bard (and literary representative by default). In case you’re unfamiliar, Burns was most famous for writing Auld Lang Syne. Other poems of note are “To a Mouse,” “To a Louse,” “Ae Fonde Kiss,” and “A Red, Red Rose”:

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

The name Dunedin is Scots Gaelic for Edinburgh. (The Maori word for the city is Ōtepoti.) The city boomed during the South Island gold rush, and the Edwardian and Victorian architecture of that era can still be found all over the city. Dunedin still has strong Scottish ties – the name of the Super rugby down here is the Highlanders, for instance.

It’s a fairly small city (120,000 residents, and over twenty percent of that is made up of university affiliates – students, profs, and other university staff), but despite its size, it’s considered one of NZ’s four major urban centers. It’s located in an extremely hilly region, and the city center (called the Octagon) is situated on the majority of flat land in the harbor. The rest of the city and most of the surrounding suburbs are built up into the hills, looking out over Central City and the harbor.
University of Otago, NZ’s first establishment for tertiary education, was founded in 1869.

Dunedin is home to the world’s southern-most professional theater (Fortune Theatre and Regent Theatre) and Baldwin Street, the steepest residential street in the world (with a gradient of 1:2.86).

Because of the diversity of wildlife, the Otago Peninsula (an area of the greater Otago Region, of which Dunedin is a part) is a mecca for eco-tourism. It’s home to the Hoiho or Yellow-Eyed penguin (the rarest penguin in the world), seals, sea-lions, and the only mainland albatross nesting colony in the world (that would be the Royal Albatross, btw).

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