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Ilam, New Zealand facts for kids

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UC CentralLibrary01 gobeirne.jpg
Puaka-James Hight, home to the University of Canterbury Central Library and centrepiece of the University's Ilam campus.
Basic information
Local authority Christchurch
Electoral ward
  • Waimairi
  • Riccarton
Land area 337 ha (1.30 sq mi)*
Coordinates 43°31′34″S 172°34′49″E / 43.526111°S 172.580278°E / -43.526111; 172.580278
Population 9810 (June 2021)
North Burnside
Northeast Bryndwr
East Fendalton
Southeast Riccarton
South Upper Riccarton
West Avonhead

Ilam is a suburb of Christchurch, New Zealand about five kilometres west of the city centre. It is the location of the University of Canterbury.

Located adjacent to State Highway 1 and the Christchurch International Airport, it is handily placed for transportation. It is also located close to the major retail area of Riccarton.

The suburb was named after the ancestral home of the Hon. John Watts-Russell (1825–75), who hailed from Ilam Hall in Staffordshire, England. He settled in Canterbury in 1850, arriving on Sir George Seymour and named his property Ilam. The Ilam homestead was in the 1950s inhabited by the rector of Canterbury College, Henry Rainsford Hulme. The homestead was used as a major location for Peter Jackson's film about the murders, Heavenly Creatures. The homestead has been the University of Canterbury Staff Club since 1971.


Ilam, comprising the statistical areas of Ilam North, Ilam South and Ilam University, covers 3.37 km2 (1.30 sq mi). It had an estimated population of 9810 as of June 2021, with a population density of 2911 people per km2.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 8,532 —    
2013 9,000 +0.77%
2018 9,357 +0.78%

Ilam had a population of 9,357 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 357 people (4.0%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 825 people (9.7%) since the 2006 census. There were 2,628 households. There were 4,881 males and 4,473 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.09 males per female, with 1,083 people (11.6%) aged under 15 years, 4,293 (45.9%) aged 15 to 29, 2,931 (31.3%) aged 30 to 64, and 1,053 (11.3%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 67.8% European/Pākehā, 5.9% Māori, 2.3% Pacific peoples, 28.5% Asian, and 3.2% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 37.8%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 51.2% had no religion, 35.3% were Christian, 1.9% were Hindu, 2.2% were Muslim, 1.8% were Buddhist and 2.7% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 2,352 (28.4%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 507 (6.1%) people had no formal qualifications. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 2,790 (33.7%) people were employed full-time, 1,599 (19.3%) were part-time, and 468 (5.7%) were unemployed.

Individual statistical areas
Name Population Households Median age Median income
Ilam North 3,729 1,218 30.3 years $24,100
Ilam South 3,204 1,041 30.3 years $22,900
Ilam University 2,424 369 20.2 years $7,900
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800


Ilam Primary School, also located on Ilam Road, is a primary school situated next to the Canterbury University whose facilities the school uses. The school educates many children from overseas. It has a roll of 471.

Westburn School is a state coeducational full primary school (years 1-8) with a roll of 485. The school was founded in 1961.

Medbury School is a private full primary boys' school (years 1-8) with a roll of 334. It was established in 1923.

Rolls are as of July 2016.

The Canterbury Japanese Supplementary School (カンタベリー日本語補習校 Kantaberī Nihongo Hoshūkō), a weekend Japanese school, holds its classes at the Ilam School in Ilam.

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