Plenty of people moving to Bay

Bay of Plenty provisionally had the highest percentage population growth of all regions in the year ended June 2020, Stats NZ said today.

“Bay of Plenty’s population grew 2.8 percent in the year ended June 2020, an increase of 9,100 people,” population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said.

“This was driven by high growth in Tauranga city and Western Bay of Plenty district.”

Populations in all 16 regions of New Zealand grew between 2019 and 2020, although growth in the West Coast was small (0.2 percent). Similar trends occurred between 2013 and 2019, with the West Coast the only region with a slight population decrease .

RegionPercentage change
Bay of Plenty2.8
Hawke’s Bay2
West Coast0.2


Auckland’s population grew an estimated 2.2 percent in the June 2020 year, 37,000 more residents than in 2019. The increase in population reflects gains from international migrants (36,700) and natural increase (12,800 more births than deaths), but was partly offset by people moving out of the region to other parts of New Zealand (12,600).

“Auckland’s population growth was the largest by number – equivalent to everyone from the Whakatane district moving to Auckland in a year,” Ms Theyers said.

There was population growth across all Auckland local board areas. The fastest-growing areas were Papakura (4.6 percent), Upper Harbour (4.0 percent), and Rodney (3.6 percent).

Territorial authority areas

Stats NZ updates subnational population estimates using three components:

  • migrant arrivals minus migrant departures (net international (or external) migration)
  • in-migration from other areas minus out-migration to other areas of New Zealand (net internal migration)
  • births minus deaths (natural increase).

Subnational population estimates are provisional and will be revised as the migration components are updated.

For the first time, Stats NZ is releasing separate estimates of net internal and net international migration, along with natural increase, for territorial authority and Auckland local board areas.

Subnational migration estimates for territorial authority and Auckland local board areas at 30 June: Data sources and methods has more information on the methodology used.

Among all territorial authority and Auckland local board areas, Selwyn district had the largest net internal migration gain (2,100 people) in the June 2020 year. This accounted for 63 percent of Selwyn’s growth, with the balance from net international migration and natural increase.

Christchurch city had a net internal migration loss of 1,900 people.

“It’s likely many of the people moving out of Christchurch moved to the neighbouring district of Selwyn, and also to Waimakariri which had a net internal migration gain of 1,100,” Ms Theyers said.

However, Christchurch city still had the largest population increase (7,000) after Auckland, with a net international migration gain of 7,400 people and natural increase of 1,500 people.

“In other words, the lion’s share of Christchurch’s population growth came from people arriving from overseas, partly offset by some leaving the city for other parts of New Zealand,” Ms Theyers said.

“A similar pattern is seen in other cities such as Auckland and Wellington, and to a lesser extent in Hamilton.”

South Island territorial authority areaNatural increaseNet internal migrationNet international migration
Invercargill city10-270850
Central Otago district80440280
Marlborough district40320470
Nelson city110-50940
Tasman district30590640
Dunedin city1005301200
Waimakariri district1901100550
Queenstown-Lakes district3608101400
Selwyn district5702100700
Christchurch city1500-19007400

Tauranga city had the second-largest net internal migration gain of 1,900 people, as people moved there from other parts of the country. However, internal migration made up only 37 percent of Tauranga’s growth, with 50 percent from net international migration (2,500 people).

North Island territorial authority areaNatural increaseNet internal migrationNet international migration
New Plymouth district220370900
Western Bay of Plenty district180790740
Far North district200740840
Hastings district3603801100
Lower Hutt city710301200
Whangārei district2909201100
Waikato district5901200690
Wellington city1000-14003400
Hamilton city1400-2803100
Tauranga city66019002500

/Stats NZ Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.