Urban areas of New Zealand

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Statistics New Zealand defines urban areas of New Zealand for statistical purposes (they have no administrative or legal basis).[1] The urban areas comprise cities, towns and other conurbations (an aggregation of urban settlements) of a thousand people or more. In combination, the urban areas of the country constitute New Zealand's urban population.[1] At the 2001 census, the urban population made up 86% of New Zealand's total population.

There are three classes of urban area:[1]

  • Main urban areas, with a population of 30,000 or more.[2] These 16 areas mostly correspond to the places known by New Zealanders as cities.
  • Secondary urban areas are the 16 urban areas with a population of 10,000 to 30,000.
  • Minor urban areas make up the remainder of the urban population of the country, towns with 1,000 to 10,000 people.

Statistics New Zealand also defines rural centres with a population of 300 to 999 people.[2] While these do not fit the standard international definition of an urban population, they serve to distinguish between true rural dwellers and those in rural settlements or towns.

The placement of urban areas into the three classes is based on the 1996 census, and does not reflect population changes since then; hence why Blenheim, Rangiora and Queenstown are placed lower than their present population suggests.[3]

Description of main urban areas[edit]

The population figures shown are Statistics New Zealand's resident population estimates at the June 2013 estimate.[4] For rankings in various criteria see the ranked list of New Zealand main urban areas. Four main urban areas are subdivided into urban zones. The following cities are listed by location from north to south.

North Island[edit]

Auckland's skyline
Wellington City
  • Whangarei (52,900): from Hikurangi to Portland.
  • Auckland (1,418,000) is divided into four urban zones:
    • Northern Auckland Urban Zone (290,200):
    • Western Auckland Urban Zone (224,300):
      • the part of Rodney District around Kumeu
      • the urban part of Waitakere City
    • Central Auckland Urban Zone (458,100): Auckland City, excluding the Hauraki Gulf islands
    • Southern Auckland Urban Zone (445,400):
  • Hamilton (212,000) is divided into three urban zones:
    • Hamilton Urban Zone (179,000): all of Hamilton City and neighbouring parts of Waikato and Waipa districts including Ngaruawahia, Taupiri and Ohaupo
    • Cambridge Urban Zone (17,300): includes Leamington
    • Te Awamutu Urban Zone (15,650): includes Kihikihi
  • Tauranga (123,500): Omokoroa to Papamoa Beach; and Mount Maunganui to Tauriko and Pyes Pa
  • Rotorua (56,200): Ngongotaha to Owhata
  • Gisborne (34,800): Makaraka to Okitu
  • Napier-Hastings (125,300) is a conurbation of two urban zones:
  • New Plymouth (53,400): Oakura to Bell Block
  • Wanganui (39,400): Westmere to Marybank
  • Palmerston North (83,800):
    • Palmerston North City excluding rural areas in the Tararua foothills
    • Longburn, Kairanga and Stoney Creek in the Manawatu District
  • Kapiti (40,500): Pekapeka to Paekakariki
  • Wellington (397,900) is divided into four urban zones:
    • Upper Hutt (39,400): Te Marua to Pinehaven
    • Lower Hutt (102,300): includes Wainuiomata, Petone and the eastern bays, excludes farmland adjacent to Wainuiomata
    • Porirua (53,100): all of Porirua City except Paekakariki Hill and Mana Island; includes Pukerua Bay and Pauatahanui
    • Wellington City (203,100): from Linden south, includes Horokiwi but excludes Makara and Ohariu

South Island[edit]

Description of secondary urban areas[edit]

The population figures shown are Statistics New Zealand's resident population estimates at the June 2013 estimate.[4] The following towns are listed by location from north to south.

North Island[edit]

South Island[edit]

  • Blenheim (30,900): From Renwick to Riverlands and south to Wither Hills.
  • Greymouth (9,940): From Runanga to Southbeach and Camerons.
  • Ashburton (18,950): From Chertsey to Winslow and Argyle Park.
  • Timaru (28,000): From Temuka to Pareora and west to Gleniti.
  • Queenstown (12,000): From Fernhill to Lake Hayes, Includes Arthurs Point and Kelvin Heights.
  • Oamaru (13,350): From Pukeuri to Weston and Holmes Hill.
  • Gore (9,710): From Pukerau to Charlton.

Minor urban areas[edit]

North Island[edit]

South Island[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Urban area: Definition". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Defining urban and rural New Zealand". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Subnational population estimates at 30 June 2010: Technical notes". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2013 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.  Also "Infoshare; Group: Population Estimates - DPE; Table: Estimated Resident Population for Urban Areas, at 30 June (1996+) (Annual-Jun)". Statistics New Zealand. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.