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Amberley

Kōwai (Māori)
Statue of Charles Upham
Statue of Charles Upham
Country New Zealand
Region Canterbury
Territorial authority Hurunui District
Ward South Ward
Area
 • Total 3.63 km2 (1.40 sq mi)
Population
 (June 2023)
 • Total 2,380
 • Density 655.6/km2 (1,698/sq mi)
Postcode
7410
Local iwi Ngāi Tahu

Amberley (Māori: Kōwai) is a town located in the Hurunui District in north Canterbury, on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is located on State Highway 1 approximately 50 km north of Christchurch. It is the seat of the Hurunui District Council. The nearest town to the north of Amberly via state highway one is Waipara (11km) and the nearest town to the south is Leithfield (5.7km).

Population

At the time of the 2006 New Zealand census of population and dwellings, the population of Amberley was 1302, an increase of almost 15% in the previous 5 years. Just under 30% of the population was aged over 65, significantly higher than the national average. In addition, more than 2,300 people lived in the rural areas serviced by the town or in adjacent villages such as Waipara and Leithfield. Ethnically, it has one of the lowest concentrations of non-European populations in New Zealand, with local council staff admitting the locals could identify the identities of all Maori and Asians recorded.

Local information

Amberley is the seat of the Hurunui District Council and the service centre for a district of arable and sheep farming. Once a year, the local A&P (Agricultural and Pastoral) show is held, usually mid-Spring.

Amberley Primary School
Amberley Primary School
Rewi Alley
Rewi Alley Memorial

Amberley Primary School's Rewi Alley Community Centre has a memorial to Rewi Alley who attended there.

There is a statue in memory of Charles Upham just outside the council building. Upham farmed in the Cheviot area. Nearby the statue sit three limestone carvings, labelled The Grandmothers, which celebrate the ancient Waitaha people. Carved by Sculptor Warren Thompson, the statues were unveiled in May 2003 by the Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Charles Upham
Statue of Charles Upham



Economy

The economy in Amberley is in part based on providing services to the dairy farming, arable farming and sheep farming and grape growing industries in the wider district. Many people commute to jobs in Christchurch each day from Amberley.

Demographics

Amberley is defined by Statistics New Zealand as a small urban area and covers 3.63 km2 (1.40 sq mi). It had an estimated population of 2,380 as of June 2023, with a population density of 656 people per km2.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 1,305 —    
2013 1,581 +2.78%
2018 2,067 +5.51%

Amberley had a population of 2,067 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 486 people (30.7%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 762 people (58.4%) since the 2006 census. There were 834 households. There were 1,002 males and 1,065 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.94 males per female. The median age was 50.3 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 369 people (17.9%) aged under 15 years, 243 (11.8%) aged 15 to 29, 777 (37.6%) aged 30 to 64, and 675 (32.7%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 93.9% European/Pākehā, 7.4% Māori, 1.2% Pacific peoples, 2.8% Asian, and 2.2% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 17.0%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 50.2% had no religion, 38.6% were Christian, 0.7% were Hindu, 0.1% were Buddhist and 1.7% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 222 (13.1%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 432 (25.4%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $26,800, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 669 (39.4%) people were employed full-time, 252 (14.8%) were part-time, and 36 (2.1%) were unemployed.

Education

The Amberley school was established in 1872 with three classrooms. By 1902 it had 122 students. Amberley School is a co-educational state primary school for Year 1 to 8 students, with a roll of 206 as of April 2023. Amberley Primary School's Rewi Alley Community Centre has a memorial to Rewi Alley who attended there.

Notable buildings

The Church of the Holy Passion of our Lord

Amberley Catholic 27
Catholic Church, Amberley (2021)

The Catholic Church of the Most Holy Passion was built in 1866 by Sir Frederick Weld. It was moved to its Amberley site on State Highway 1 in the mid-1950s.

Holy Innocents Anglican Church

Amberley Anglican 27
Anglican Church, Amberley (2021)

Located on Church Street.

Cob Cottage

Cob cottage, Amberley, New Zealand
Cob Cottage, Amberley, New Zealand

The Cob Cottage is located in Chamberlain Park. it suffered significant damage in 1975 because of gale force nor westerly winds. The damage was such that an upper floor had to be removed. It is owned by the Amberley Historical Society and houses a collection of furnishings and clothing from the early settlers of the area.

Amberley House

Amberley House was built between 1870 and 1876. In 1920 the property was converted into the Amberley House Girls’ Collegiate School. The house was extended by and converted into the school by building two stories to the original house. The school closed in 1942. Previous owners built extensive stables to support a horse breeding business. There are extensive grounds and it operates part time as a wedding venue and offers garden tours.

Charles Upham statue

There is a statue in memory of Charles Upham just outside the council building. Upham farmed in the Cheviot area. Nearby the statue sit three limestone carvings, labelled The Grandmothers, which celebrate the ancient Waitaha people. Carved by Sculptor Warren Thompson, the statues were unveiled in May 2003 by the Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand.

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