Riverton or Aparima is a small town 30 kilometres west of Invercargill via State Highway 99 on the Southern Scenic Route. It is situated on the south-eastern shorelines of the Jacobs River Estuary being formed by the Aparima and Pourakino Rivers, which leads through a narrow outflow channel into Foveaux Strait. The main part of the town is on flat land (the Southland Plains) and the northern end of Oreti Beach but South Riverton is built on the hills (the Longwood Range) between the eastern shore of the estuary and Taramea Bay.
Riverton is the oldest permanent settlement of Southland and one of New Zealand’s oldest towns. In 2011 the town’s people of Riverton celebrated their 175th anniversary.
The main industry is fishing. However farming (esp. dairying) is fast becoming the industry of influence as the fishing slowly dries up. Support services such as transport, irrigation, engineering and various farm related contractors now play an important part in the local economy. The fish factory based on its main wharf has now been converted to a butchery. However, the harbour is still quite busy, because, along with Bluff, it is a safe harbour for access to New Zealand’s south / west seas. It is also popular for water skiing, rowing, fishing and catching the occasional flounder. Taramea Bay is a popular spot in the summer for Southland residents to swim as it provides safe swimming and excellent surf spots. Riverton is well known for dolphin spotting as they like to travel up into the estuary for feeding. Sawmilling has been important to Riverton and Pankhurst’s Mill still supplies timber locally and to wider Southland.