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Browse this section for information on the North Canterbury economy and growth.

North Canterbury, comprising the Waimakariri and Hurunui districts, has a population base of more than 70,000 with approximately 80% residing in the Waimakariri District. The region boasts strong agricultural and horticultural sectors based on some 800,000 ha of productive land. There are over 8,000 businesses which, in the main, employ fewer than five people.

North Canterbury has major comparative advantages in its fertile soils, temperate climate, significant water resources, and natural features that present opportunities for the further development of the agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, forestry, manufacturing and tourism sectors with their associated service industries.


The Waimakariri District is the gateway to North Canterbury and only a short drive from Christchurch International Airport. The district 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 Oxford, Woodend and Pegasus adding to the district’s population and services.


The urban hub of the Waimakariri District, Rangiora is a thriving, fast-growing town with an increasing range of excellent businesses and facilities.


Kaiapoi is a beautiful river town undergoing significant redevelopment following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.


Located in the west of the District, at the foothills of the Southern Alps, is the welcoming settlement of Oxford.


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 Springs. Culverden and the Waipara Valley wine region are among the many smaller populated areas in the district.


The main urban town of the Hurunui District, Amberley is a thriving township of around 1100 people and it is currently experiencing rapid growth.

Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs is a hugely popular tourist destination. Home to the famous hot pools, Hanmer Springs also has extensive river and forest tracks ready to be explored by bike or on foot.


Located in the Amuri basin on SH7, Culverden has remained one of the largest traditional farming areas in the country.


A bright service town supporting the local farming community, Cheviot also attracts visitors to the nearby Hurunui and Waiau rivers and beach destination of Gore Bay.

Waipara Valley

A real jewel in the Hurunui District is the Waipara Valley, which is home to international award winning wineries.