Methven is a small town in the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is located near the western edge of the Canterbury Plains, 35 kilometres north of Ashburton. It was originally the railhead of a short branch railway off the Main South Line. Branching off from Rakaia, the Methven Branch travelled through Lauriston and Lyndhurst to Methven and operated from 1880 until 1976.It is a rural service town throughout the year, but undergoes a stark transformation in winter. Mount Hutt skifield is around half an hour away from Methven, the closest town. As such, a number of cafes, bars, and restaurants lie relatively dormant over the summer months. Similarly, the town's accommodation providers have a strongly seasonal trade. In addition to skiing, another popular attraction is hot air ballooning.The population was 1326 in the 2006 Census, an increase of 192 from 2001.Methven is home to Rajah, New Zealand's first police dog.Methven also served as a base to cast and crew for the filming of Edoras (located further inland), for The Lord of the Rings.