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Darfield

Darfield is a town in the Selwyn District of the South Island of New Zealand. It is 35 kilometres west of the outskirts of Christchurch on State Highway 73 (Great Alpine Highway) and on the Midland railway line, route of the TranzAlpine train service. Its population (GeoNames geographical database 2011) is 1,593.Darfield is the main town between Christchurch and the West Coast region. It is often called "The township under the nor'west arch" in reference to a characteristic weather phenomenon that often creates an arch of cloud in an otherwise clear sky to the west of the township. This is caused by the condensation of water particles channelled upwards over the Southern Alps. Darfield has an intermediate/high school, and a primary school, as well as several shops.Darfield lies in the Malvern district's arable and pastoral farming area. It is a gateway to the scenic Waimakariri and Rakaia rivers and the Southern Alps, and is also a popular lift-off place for hot air ballooning.Fonterra has a milk powder factory near the town. The factory has a series of sidings and a container loading centre.A magnitude 7.1 earthquake occurred near Darfield at 4:35 am on 4 September 2010, causing widespread damage to both the town and to surrounding areas including the city of Christchurch.
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