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Picton from the air.

A view of the harbour in Picton.

Picton, a park at the coast.

Picton is a town in the Marlboroughmarker region of New Zealandmarker. It is near the head of Queen Charlotte Soundmarker near the north-east corner of the South Islandmarker. The population was 2928 in the 2006 Census, a decrease of 72 from 2001. The town is named after Sir Thomas Picton, the military associate of the Duke of Wellington, who was killed at the Battle of Waterloomarker.

Inter-island ferries to and from Wellingtonmarker arrive and depart here by way of the Marlborough Soundsmarker. Most of the sheltered part of the route is through Tory Channelmarker, south of Arapawa Islandmarker. The township of Waikawamarker is a couple of minutes' drive from Picton, practically part of the same town. Waikawa hosts a marina, one of the largest in New Zealand.

As of 2001, the unemployment rate in Picton was 4.3%, compared with 7.5% for all of New Zealand.


The Main North railway line and State Highway 1 link Picton southwards to Blenheimmarker, Christchurchmarker and beyond, while scenic Queen Charlotte Drive (shorter in distance but usually slower than State Highway 1/State Highway 6 via Rapaura, near Blenheim) winds westward to Havelockmarker.

Picton is the main link between the South and North Island, with scheduled ferry service overCook Straitmarker. The two main shipping companies that operate this route are Interislander and Strait Shipping, with both offering Roll-on/roll-off capabilities for cars, trucks and sometimes trains.

The TranzCoastal long-distance passenger/tourist train from Christchurch makes a daily return trip to Picton.

Picton Airport at nearby Koromikomarker has regular services to Wellington and charter flights around the Marlborough sounds.

Nearby settlements are at Anakiwa, Waikawamarker, and Ngakuta Bay.

The Edwin Fox Maritime Centre features the Edwin Foxmarker, the only surviving ship that transported convicts to Australia, which is undergoing preservation.

Notable people


The first school opened in Picton in 1861 at the corner of Devon Street and Broadway. A new school opened in 1882, and part of the old school was moved to the new site, but was destroyed by fire in 1928. A Catholic Convent school opened in 1915, and was replaced by St Joseph's in 1924.

Queen Charlotte College is a secondary (years 7-15) school with a decile rating of 4 and a roll of 363.

Picton School is a contributing primary (years 1-6) school with a decile rating of 3 and a roll of 120.

St Joseph's School is a state integrated contributing primary (years 1-6) school with a decile rating of 5 and a roll of 25.

All these schools are coeducational. Other primary schools in the area are at Linkwatermarker, Koromikomarker and Waikawamarker.


The famous author Katherine Mansfield spent some time in Picton where her grandparents, Arthur and Mary Beauchamp, and her father Harold, lived for some time when they came from Australia. She included a reference to the port in her short story "The Voyage" (in the collection The Garden Party), which is "an account of a trip to Picton from Wellington on the Cook Strait ferry".


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