Abstract Relocation of well observed, intermediate depth earthquakes in the Fiordland region by the method of joint hypocentre determination has revealed some fine structure in the Benioff zone. The earthquakes occur in three groups. The central group is the largest and occupies a planar volume less than 15 km thick striking N40°E and dipping at 80°. The deepest events in the region, at depths of 150 km, occur at the northeast end of this group. The two smaller groups lie to the northeast and to the south of the main group. The focal mechanism of the majority of the main group is that of thrust faulting. We suggest that the main group lies within a section of Indian plate lithosphere which has been broken off and rotated into its observed position and that the northern edge of the unbroken subducted Indian plate is indicated by the southern group. We suggest that the small northeastern group has quite a different tectonic origin and is similar to a group of earthquakes further north which are at a similar distance from, and presumably related to, the Alpine Fault. Use has also been made of the travel-time information which is a by-product of the joint hypocentre method to construct upper mantle velocity models for P and S waves in the South Island. The features of this model are a high-velocity region in the vicinity of the Benioff zone, and a subcrustal zone of high seismic velocities running east-west across the center of the South Island in an otherwise normal mantle.