Maori were the first to venture into the Mackenzie Country, where they hunted moas, birds and eels before returning to the coast for food and trade.
The capture of Scotsman, James McKenzie in 1855, for being “in the company of a thousand stolen sheep” as he rustled them with his dog Friday, through a remote alpine pass into “a plain of immense extent” resulted in his deeds being immortalised and his name, albeit with a spelling change, applied to these highlands ever since.
The famous sheep dog statue on the lake’s edge is in memory of the hardy mustering dogs “without the help of which the grazing of this mountainous country would be impossible.”
Nearby is The Church of the Good Shepherd built in 1935 to the glory of God as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country. Congregations of the three main faiths worship regularly in the Church, which offers awe inspiring views of the lake and mountains through the altar window.
High energy & passive pass-times
The waters of the lake are harnessed for electricity through the Tekapo Canal, flowing 27km to the Lake Pukaki powerhouse then onwards through the impressive Waitaki Valley hydro system.
In addition to the lure of trout and salmon fishing, you may enjoy mountain biking, water sports, hiking trails, 4WD tours, skiing, snowboarding, scenic flights and golf. After a busy day, relax in quality accommodation or the convivial bars and restaurants.