The Hurunui District of North Canterbury comprises approximately 866,000ha between the South Island’s east coast and the Main Divide. Positioned north of the Waimakariri District, the Hurunui District boundaries reach from Leithfield Beach in the south to the Conway River (near Kaikoura) in the north. 

The major urban settlements of the Hurunui District are Amberley, Cheviot and Hanmer SpringsCulverden and the Waipara Valley wine region are among the many smaller populated areas in the district.

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.  


Hurunui is a district with a stable population of 12,950. It currently has a population growth of 0% but has seen a small amount of growth since the 2013 census when there were 12,000 residents.

A small population over a large area would normally mean very high rates, but rates in the district are offset by the profit generated by the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa which are council owned.

Mid level projections estimate that Hurunui will have a population of 14,550 by 2043





Businesses in Hurunui

There were 2,502 businesses in the Hurunui District in 2019. 1,794 of those businesses are very small, with zero employees; the remaining 708 businesses collectively employ 5,200 employees. 




The largest business sectors in the Hurunui District are:


Numbers of people employed

GDP for  Hurunui

Median annual earnings for individuals









Accommodation and Food Services





Approx 745*


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 the region's second biggest earner and has good potential for further growth. Tourism 2025 and the Tourism Industry Association estimate that 14.4% of residents’ jobs are supported by tourism (approx. 745). Given that most tourism employees are based in hospitality or retail jobs, median earnings are likely to be low.



In the year to October 2019, tourism expenditure was $153m in the Hurunui District, a drop of 4%, compared to a 2% growth for New Zealand. International visitors to the Hurunui District spent $35m in the year to October 2019.

In a wider view, there were 1.2 million international visitors to Canterbury for the year to June 2019. Currently, Hurunui captures a fraction of that (73,000 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).

Housing and Income

Hurunui is an affordable place to live with the 2016 (most recent data) average house cost at $423,248 compared to $509,163 in Christchurch, $622,816 for New Zealand or $519,717 for the Waimakariri District. The average weekly rent for the Hurunui District at the same period was $321, well under the national average of $471

Incomes for households in Hurunui are low at $89,300 (mean income) compared to $104,400 for New Zealand.


Labour Market

With a small population, unemployment at a very low level of 2.1% and isolation from main population centres, the Hurunui District has a very tight labour market. Many employers in the district employ migrants as a response to this, particularly in the tourism, manufacturing and agricultural industries.

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.

Hurunui District Council

The Hurunui District Council (HDC) is based in Amberley. Marie Black is the district mayor, heading up a team of 10 councillors. 

For more information visit

Other Recommended Reports and Websites



To view more Hurunui District Council documents, please visit their website: