Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora is located in the Canterbury Region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is actually a broad, shallow lagoon located directly to the west of Banks Peninsula, separated from the Pacific Ocean by a long narrow sandy spit called Kaitorete Spit, or more correctly Kaitorete Barrier. It lies partially in extreme southeastern Selwyn Districtand partially in the southwestern extension of the former Banks Peninsula District, which now (since 2006) is a ward in the city of Christchurch. The lake holds high historical and cultural significance to the indigenous Māori population and the traditional Māori name Te Waihora, means spreading waters. It has officially had a dual English/Māori name since at least 1938.