A casual visitor to Cromwell might think this is a relatively new town that was plonked down in the heartland of Central Otago sometime in the late seventies or early eighties.

You’ll find street after street of modern bungalows housing mainly young or younger families, living in a climate that ranges from blazing hot summers to bone-chilling winters.

Bannockburn church. Bannockburn is a small historic village five minutes from Cromwell and growing in popularity

That is if you get to find these suburban Cromwell streets, because by-passing the town altogether is remarkably easy as the main highways skim by the edges of it.

But it wasn’t always that way. If you search among the modern timber and concrete-block homes, shaded by irrigated silver birch trees, you’ll find old buildings – schist-stone cottages, churches and what’s left of Old Cromwell Town.

Great changes have occurred here and continue to occur, for Cromwell is a town on the move.

To read this and other articles on the NZ Today website please click here to sign up for a membership. Once a member and logged in, you'll be able to read all the articles on the site.