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Murchison is a town in the Tasman Region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is near the western end of the "Four Rivers Plain", at the confluence of the Buller River and the Matakitaki River. The other two rivers are the Mangles River, and the Matiri River. It is a rural service town for the surrounding mixed farming district, on New Zealand State Highway 6 approximately halfway between Westport and Nelson. Murchison was named after the famed Scottish geologist Roderick Murchison. At the 2006 census, Murchison had a population of 496.HistoryThe district is steeped in history from the days of the gold miners and early settlers. Lyell, once one of the largest gold mining settlements in the South Island, is nearby, and offers an interesting example of how quickly the bush can wipe away traces of civilization. Murchison was the epicentre of the 1929 Murchison earthquake (also known as the Buller earthquake).The world's earliest non-military suicide attack is believed to have occurred in Murchison on 14 July 1905. A long-standing dispute between two farmers resulted in a court case, and the defendant (Joseph Sewell) had sticks of gelignite strapped to his body. When Sewell excitedly shouted during the court sitting about the other farmer "I'll blow the devil to hell, and I have enough dynamite to do just that", he was ushered out of the building. Sewell detonated the charge when a police officer tried to arrest him on the street, and his body was blown to pieces, but nobody else died from their injuries.Add Murchison and other New Zealand destinations to your travel plans using our New Zealand day trip tool.
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