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Hurunui is a district with a slowly increasing population of 13,550. It has seen a population growth of 5% since the last census in 2018.  Mid level projections estimate that Hurunui will have a population of 14,800 by 2043.


Hurunui Population Growth chart

There were 2,622 businesses in the Hurunui District in 2023. 68% of those businesses are very small, with zero employees; the remaining 32% of businesses collectively employ 4,950 employees.

The largest business sectors in the Hurunui District are:

Industry (as of 2022) Numbers of people employed* GDP for  Hurunui Median annual earnings for individuals
Agriculture 1650 $240m $46,750
Manufacturing 320 $74m $48,000
Electricity, Water and Waste 100 $62.5m $77,990
Tourism Approx 745** $153m See notes below*


*Number of people employed does not include business owners

**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 Aotearoa estimate that 14.4% of residents’ jobs are supported by tourism. Given that most tourism employees are based in hospitality or retail jobs, median earnings are likely to be low.


Current Situation: In the year to July 2023 tourism electronic transactions were was $107.6m in the Hurunui District. Domestic visitors to the Hurunui District spent $93m (an increase of 1.8%) and international tourists spent $14.6m (an increase of 312.3%).


Unemployment in Hurunui is traditionally at very low levels (1.7% in June 2023 compared to 3.4% for New Zealand). This can make it difficult to find staff that live locally. However, with major housing developments planned and proximity to the Waimakariri District it is possible to find suitable semi-skilled and unskilled workers.

It can be difficult to find non-agricultural highly skilled workers and any technical business looking to establish in Hurunui would need to consider how they would attract the employees they need to the area. Hurunui does offer an extremely attractive lifestyle and affordable housing.

The Move On Up resources, tools, stories and videos help to show why people choose to live in this area.

North Canterbury - Move On Up

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




Located on State Highway 1, Amberley township is a busy rural service centre with an impressive range of cafes, shops and amenities.



Primarily a rural service centre, Culverden has welcomed a number of eateries and rural accommodation options in recent years.


Hanmer Springs

Best known for its natural hot pools and stunning alpine village, Hanmer Springs is a bustling tourism destination 90 minutes’ drive from Christchurch.



Cheviot is the largest town on the coastal route between Amberley and Kaikoura. While is primarily a rural service town it is a charming place to explore.



With an ideal climate and soil, forests rich with wild game, farms, truffières, rivers and coastlines, the Waipara Valley is a key food and wine producing areas.



Primarily a rural service centre, Hawarden is the gateway to the secluded wilderness and pristine Lake Sumner Forest Park area offering excellent hunting and fishing grounds.


Smaller Settlements

There are a large number of small settlements scattered across the Hurunui. Many, such as Waiau, Rotherham and Greta Valley serve primarily as rural service centres while others such as Leithfield and Gore Bay are coastal holiday settlements.


Last updated in November 2023. If you require more in depth or recent information please contact our Business Support Manager, Miles Dalton.