Oamaru began its 150th birthday celebrations on Sunday, which will be a year-long party.
District Mayor Alec Familton read a decree which set up the former Oamaru Town Board in December 1862.
More than 20 groups are already planned events in the next year.
Mr Familton said the calendar is still growing and there will be at least one event to suit everyone in the town.
They include a re-enactment of the return of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ship, the SS Terra Nova, to New Zealand in 1913 after his death in Antarctica the year before; a concert by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa; and an attempt on the record for the longest street tea party.