Waitaki District

Coordinates: 44°55′34″S 170°38′06″E / 44.926°S 170.635°E / -44.926; 170.635
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Waitaki District
Waitaki District Council building, Thames Street, Oamaru
Waitaki District Council building, Thames Street, Oamaru
Coat of arms of Waitaki District
Location of the Waitaki District within the South Island
Location of the Waitaki District within the South Island
Coordinates: 44°55′34″S 170°38′06″E / 44.926°S 170.635°E / -44.926; 170.635
CountryNew Zealand
  • Ahuriri
  • Waihemo
  • Ahuriri
  • Corriedale
  • Oamaru
  • Waihemo
 • MayorGary Kircher [1]
 • Deputy MayorHana Halalele
 • ElectorateWaitaki
 • Territorial authorityWaitaki District Council
 • Land7,107.94 km2 (2,744.39 sq mi)
 (June 2022)[3]
 • Total24,000
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code03
Websitewww.waitaki.govt.nz Edit this at Wikidata

Waitaki District is a territorial authority district that is located in the Canterbury and Otago regions of the South Island of New Zealand. It straddles the traditional border between the two regions, the Waitaki River, and its seat is Oamaru.


Waitaki District is made up of the former Waitaki County, Waihemo County and Oamaru Borough, which were amalgamated in 1989. It is governed by the Waitaki District Council.


During the colonial period, the area was also known as Molesworth.[4] However, the Maori name Waitaki eventually prevailed.


It has a land area of 7,107.73 km2 (2,744.31 sq mi), of which 4,195.17 km2 (1,619.76 sq mi) or 59.02% is in the Canterbury Region and 2,912.56 km2 (1,124.55 sq mi) or 40.98% in the Otago Region.[5] It is the only district in the South Island that lies in two regions.[6]

A major reason for this split was the governance of the Waitaki River, which forms a political boundary between Canterbury and Otago. With major hydro schemes on this river, it was decided to place the entire catchment in one administrative region, thus forming the split.[when?] Some people who fall into the Canterbury Region of Waitaki District still regard themselves as part of Otago, and attempts have been made in the past to change the boundary. The district, which is agricultural by nature, comprises the wide alluvial fan of the river, and runs inland along the banks of the river, forming a roughly triangular region.

Urban areas and settlements[edit]

Oamaru, the district seat, is the only town in the Waitaki district with a population over 1,000. It is home to 13,900 people, 57.9% of the district's population.[3]

Other settlements and localities in the district include:

Ahuriri Ward:

Waihemo Ward:

Corriedale Ward:

Oamaru Ward:


Waitaki District covers 7,107.73 km2 (2,744.31 sq mi)[2] and had an estimated population of 24,000 as of June 2022,[3] with a population density of 3.4 people per km2.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [7]

Waitaki District had a population of 22,308 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 1,479 people (7.1%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 2,085 people (10.3%) since the 2006 census. There were 9,171 households. There were 10,974 males and 11,331 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.97 males per female. The median age was 45.6 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 4,071 people (18.2%) aged under 15 years, 3,348 (15.0%) aged 15 to 29, 9,819 (44.0%) aged 30 to 64, and 5,070 (22.7%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 88.0% European/Pākehā, 8.2% Māori, 3.8% Pacific peoples, 5.3% Asian, and 1.9% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 15.4, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 47.9% had no religion, 41.5% were Christian, 0.6% were Hindu, 0.3% were Muslim, 0.5% were Buddhist and 1.8% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 2,331 (12.8%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 4,719 (25.9%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $27,700, compared with $31,800 nationally. 2,019 people (11.1%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 8,529 (46.8%) people were employed full-time, 2,826 (15.5%) were part-time, and 441 (2.4%) were unemployed.[7]

Individual wards (2018 boundaries)
Name Area (km2) Population Density (per km2) Households Median age Median income
Ahuriri Ward 4,195.18 1,338 0.32 561 48.6 years $31,100
Oamaru Ward 38.55 13,785 357.59 5,700 46.6 years $26,400
Waihemo Ward 1,321.15 2,289 1.73 1,014 50.3 years $24,500
Corriedale Ward 1,552.86 4,896 3.15 1,896 40.5 years $33,900
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800


A relatively sparsely settled area, the District has a large number of farms. However, in recent times (late 2000s), numerous proposals for new farming operations have locals fearing that the agriculture will be transformed from often family-held farms to large agribusiness operations, causing local ecological damage and siphoning off capital overseas.[8]


  1. ^ "Council (Waitaki District Council)". Waitaki.govt.nz. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b "ArcGIS Web Application". statsnz.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Subnational population estimates (RC, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2022 (2022 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2022. (regional councils); "Subnational population estimates (TA, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2022 (2022 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2022. (territorial authorities); "Subnational population estimates (urban rural), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2022 (2022 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2022. (urban areas)
  4. ^ "What's In A Name? Geographic Board's Work". The Evening Post. 27 April 1934. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  5. ^ "ArcGIS Web Application". www.arcgis.com. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  6. ^ Siobhan Downes, "Why Waitaki wants its name on the tourism map", stuff.co.nz, 19 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Waitaki District (068). 2018 Census place summary: Waitaki District
  8. ^ Taylor, Gary (8 February 2010). "A national treasure is being squandered". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 February 2010.

External links[edit]