Pegasus kayaks

The Waimakariri District


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.

The major urban towns of the Waimakariri District are Rangiora and Kaiapoi, with OxfordWoodend and Pegasus adding to the district’s population and services.

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 3.0% GDP growth, the population of Waimakariri has grown consistently  since the 2013 census (total of 16.4% growth) and now has a population of 62,800. 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.

Housing & Income

Waimakariri is an affordable place to live with the 2018 average house cost at $536,206 compared to $652,253 in Christchurch, $690,559 for New Zealand or $652,253 for the Selwyn District. The average weekly rent for the Waimakariri District at the same period was $393, well under the national average of $442  - 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.

Business In Waimakariri

There were 6,429 businesses in the Waimakariri District in 2018. 4,551 of those businesses are very small, with zero employees; the remaining 1,878 businesses collectively employ 15,000 employees. 

Businesses and Employees in the Waimakariri3



The largest business sectors in the Waimakariri District are:


Numbers of people employed

GDP for Waimakariri

Median annual earnings for individuals


















Approx 2,600*


See notes below*

 *Tourism includes other industries (such as retail and hospitality), but as estimated through eftpos and credit card spend from visitors, it is our second biggest earner and has good potential for further growth. Tourism 2025 and the Tourism Industry Association estimate that 18.3% of residents’ jobs are supported by tourism (approx. 2,600). Given that most tourism employees are based in hospitality or retail jobs, median earnings are likely to be low.



In the year to December 2018, tourism expenditure in the Waimakariri District has grown by 13%, compared to a 4.3% growth for New Zealand. The official tourism spend in Waimakariri was $86m, but this does not include visitors from Christchurch (who are counted as locals) who we estimate spend an additional $62m and who are our main target market. International visitors to the Waimakariri District spent $22m of our estimated total visitor spend of $148m.

In a wider view, there were 1.2 million international visitors to Canterbury for the year to June 2018. Currently, Waimakariri captures a 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).


Labour Market

While the unemployment rate in the Waimakariri District is traditionally at low levels (2.4% in 2018 compared to 4.3% for New Zealand) it can be relatively easy to find low and mid skilled workers. That is because 48.5% of Waimakariri workers commute to Christchurch for work. Of those workers, 72% stated in that they would prefer to work in the Waimakariri if suitable work were available. As an example, when PAK'nSAVE were advertising for 190 positions in 2015, they had over 2000 applicants for the positions.

Many employers have reported a high level of interest to advertised jobs, with word of mouth and social media being key ways to promote. 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 can be 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. Again, using non-traditional means of advertising can be more effective to find highly skilled workers in the Waimakariri District. Highly skilled Christchurch residents are generally happy to take the short commute to a good job in Waimakariri.

Christchurch workers 2015 WDC Community Study

 *Chart from the Waimakariri 2015 Community Study 


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.

Other Recommended Reports and Websites

This page is a brief overview of the business demographics and data for the Waimakariri District. Last updated in September 2019. If you require more in depth or recent information please contact our Business Support Manager, Miles Dalton.