Culverden was established following the arrival of the railway in 1886, subsequently becoming the rail and coach, as well as the farming centre for Amuri. Over the years, the Amuri district has remained an area of traditional large scale farming, characterised in many cases by continuous family ownership across several generations. A secondary school department was established in Culverden in 1960, making it the third high school in the district, changing its status to an area school in 1977.
The Culverden township offers a choice of farmstays, bed and breakfasts and gardens to enjoy, making it a great place for visitors seeking a rural New Zealand experience. The 9-hole Culverden Golf Course includes an attractive mountain backdrop. October each year sees the famous Christmas Country Fete showcasing arts, crafts, food and wine in a garden party atmosphere.
Just a short drive south, the historic Hurunui Hotel has provided weary drovers moving sheep from Nelson to Christchurch for stock sales with a place to rest and pick up their mail and catch up on news since 1868. As the gateway to Canterbury all the sheep entering the district were once dipped here before moved on to avoid the spread of disease from one region to another. The Hotel remains a classic landmark in North Canterbury and is still a great place to stop for refreshments.