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Balfour, New Zealand facts for kids

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Country New Zealand
Region Southland
District Southland District
Ward Mararoa Waimea Ward
 • Total 0.48 km2 (0.19 sq mi)
 (2018 Census)
 • Total 117
 • Density 244/km2 (631/sq mi)

Balfour is a small town located in the Southland region of New Zealand.

Accounts of Balfour's naming differ: according to one report, it was named after an employee of the Waimea Company who lived there; alternatively it may have been named after James Melville Balfour, Marine Engineer to the New Zealand Government and uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson.


Balfour is located between the Hokonui Hills and the Mataura River in the Waimea Plains, and is about fifteen kilometres southeast of Lumsden. It is located on New Zealand State Highway 94, the main road linking Gore with the tourist destination of Milford Sound.


The town's industry is predominantly agricultural. In the surrounding area, cattle, sheep, grain, and deer are farmed. A dairy factory once operated in the town. Dairy farming has again become economically important in recent years. A lime works, started in 1910, recently closed.


Balfour is described as a rural settlement by Statistics New Zealand. It covers 0.48 km2 (0.19 sq mi), and is part of the much larger Lumsden-Balfour statistical area.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 138 —    
2013 126 −1.29%
2018 117 −1.47%

Balfour had a population of 117 at the 2018 New Zealand census, a decrease of 9 people (−7.1%) since the 2013 census, and a decrease of 21 people (−15.2%) since the 2006 census. There were 48 households. There were 66 males and 54 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.22 males per female. The median age was 40.8 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 18 people (15.4%) aged under 15 years, 27 (23.1%) aged 15 to 29, 42 (35.9%) aged 30 to 64, and 30 (25.6%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 94.9% European/Pākehā, 10.3% Māori, and 2.6% Asian (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 53.8% had no religion and 35.9% were Christian.

Of those at least 15 years old, 6 (6.1%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 33 (33.3%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $34,300, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 51 (51.5%) people were employed full-time and 18 (18.2%) were part-time.


Balfour annually hosts a rugby sevens tournament. This tournament typically involves teams from Southland and Otago. It is also a popular location for trout fishing.


Balfour School is a state contributing primary school for years 1 to 6 with a roll of 83 as of July 2016. The school was established in 1887.

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