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The Waimakariri District of North Canterbury covers some 225,000 hectares, bordered by the Waimakariri River in the south, the Puketearaki Range in the west, Pegasus Bay in the east and the Hurunui District boundary to the north.
This page provides a brief overview of key data, demographics and statistics relating to living and doing business in North Canterbury. We have included stats on population, house prices, income, business, tourism and the labour market. If you require more recent figures or additional information, please contact ENC's Business Support Manager Miles Dalton.
Waimakariri is a fast growing area just north of the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. Currently experiencing 2.4% population growth and 2.0% GDP growth, the population of Waimakariri has grown consistently since the 2013 census (total of 16.4% growth) and now has a population of 60,900. Mid level projections estimate that Waimakariri will have a population of 83,100 by 2043 - Link to Data Source.
Within Waimakariri, the most rapid growth area is in the Woodend/Pegasus area with a large number of new sections available. Ravenswood and Pegasus are the largest developments in this area including space for living, retail, commercial and industrial developments.
Waimakariri is an affordable place to live with the 2019 average (mean) house value at $542,516 compared to $515,069 in Christchurch, $705,638 for New Zealand or $653,502 for the Selwyn District. The average weekly rent for the Waimakariri District at the same period was $414, well under the national average of $475 - Link to Data Source.
Incomes for households in Waimakariri are almost exactly the same as New Zealand overall at $104,200 (mean income) - Link to Data Source.
There were 6,453 businesses in the Waimakariri District in 2019 employing 15,200 people. Approximately 71% of those businesses have no employees and 6% of businesses have 10 or more staff.
Tourism is a very small part of the Waimakariri landscape, but has great potential for investment. In the year to March 2020, tourism expenditure in the Waimakariri District has grown by 5.7% to $92m, compared to a -1.5% decline for Christchurch. Link to data source.
The district has not seen the same financial impact of Covid-19 as many other districts across New Zealand due to a comparatively small exposure to the loss of international tourism.
Before Covid-19, there were 1.2 million international visitors to Canterbury for the year to June 2018. Waimakariri captured a very small fraction of that (10,020 international visitors) and there is great potential for growth. Link to Data Source.
It is also worth looking at the summary report for ChristchurchNZ which covers the wider Canterbury area (Ashburton, Christchurch, Selwyn, Waimakariri, Hurunui).
As with the rest of New Zealand, Waimakariri suffered a sharp and significant impact from Covid-19 and the lockdown resulting from it. The district is better placed in the long term to weather the impact due to a semi-rural location and a lower level of reliance on international tourism than other districts.
As of today (July 28, 2020), few businesses have had to close due to the impacts of Covid and we are predicting job losses of between 500 -1200 out of a total workforce of 39,000.
Consumer spending is now back to normal levels (slightly above 2019 spending) and businesses in general are fine but fragile.
While the unemployment rate in the Waimakariri District is traditionally at low levels (3.0% in March 2020 compared to 4.1% for New Zealand) it is usually relatively easy to find low and mid skilled workers. That is because 32% of Waimakariri workers commute to Christchurch for work. In the most recent Waimakariri Community Survey, 72% stated in that they would prefer to work in the Waimakariri if suitable work were available.
ENC expects the unemployment rate in Waimakariri to rise to between 6% and 8% as a result of Covid-19.
Pre-Covid it was common to hear of Waimakariri employers receiving hundreds of applications for listed positions with word of mouth and social media being the most common ways to promote jobs in this district. Traditional job sites can be less successful since many local workers are not actively seeking a new job (being already employed), even though they would prefer to work locally.
Finding highly skilled workers is traditionally more difficult in Waimakariri due to a smaller pool of talent (due to population numbers) than in cities, and due to the fact that local workers are generally not actively looking for local positions. However post-Covid the ease of finding skilled workers has increased. Again, using non-traditional means of advertising can be more effective in the Waimakariri District. Highly skilled Christchurch residents are generally happy to take the short commute to a good job in Waimakariri.
*Chart from the Waimakariri 2015 Community Study
* JTW is short for Journeys to Work
** %s are of Waimakariri commuters to ChCh
The Jobs in North Canterbury website run by ENC is a popular resource for employers looking for local workers. This page had over 22,000 visitors in 2018.
This page is a brief overview of the business demographics and data for the Waimakariri District. Thank you to the Waimakariri District Council who provided the majority of charts and graphs shown on this page.
Last updated in July 2020. If you require more in depth or recent information please contact our Business Support Manager, Miles Dalton.