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Lincoln, New Zealand facts for kids

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Minor urban area
Looking southwest across Lincoln from the air, December 2005
Looking southwest across Lincoln from the air, December 2005
Country New Zealand
Island South Island
Region Canterbury
Territorial authority Selwyn District
Ward Springs
 • Total 9.06 km2 (3.50 sq mi)
10 m (30 ft)
 (June 2020)
 • Total 8,130
 • Density 897.4/km2 (2,324.1/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
Local iwi Ngāi Tahu

Lincoln is a town in the Selwyn District, in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand's South Island. The town is located on the Canterbury Plains to the west of Banks Peninsula, 22 kilometres southwest of Christchurch. The town has a population of 8,130 (June 2020), making it the second largest town in the Selwyn District behind nearby Rolleston.

Lincoln is a satellite town of Christchurch; at the 2006 Census, 53% of employed Lincoln residents worked in the city. The town is home to Lincoln University, the oldest agricultural tertiary institution in the Southern Hemisphere and the smallest of New Zealand's eight universities.


In 1862 James Edward FitzGerald of ‘The Springs’ subdivided some of his freehold land for the new township of Lincoln, named after the Earl of Lincoln, a foundation member of the Canterbury Association and from 1851 a member of the management committee. The site of Lincoln on the L1 River would allow for a flour mill to be built to service the growing farming district. Lincoln was laid out in a grid layout and FitzGerald named the four belts North, East, South and West and the cross streets after his own children Robert, Maurice and William. The main streets James, Edward and Gerald were names after himself.
The new township steadily grew and by 1873 Lincoln had a post office, butcher, brewers, a baker and confectioner, a storekeeper who had a hotel, a wheelwright and a carpenter, and a blacksmith. The peaceful quality of Lincoln changed with the arrival of the railway line in 1875 and the opening of the Little River line in 1886.

On 26 April 1875, a branch line railway was opened to Lincoln from a junction with the Main South Line in Hornby. This line became the Southbridge Branch. Within a few years, Lincoln became a junction itself, with the Little River Branch diverging from the Southbridge Branch in Lincoln. This branch opened to Birdling's Flat on 16 May 1882 and Little River itself on 11 March 1886. On 30 June 1962, Lincoln became a railway terminus when the Little River Branch and the Lincoln-Southbridge section of the Southbridge Branch were both closed. The railway did not last much longer in Lincoln, closing on 1 December 1967. Today, the Little River Rail Trail is being established along the railway's old route. The Prebbleton to Lincoln leg of the route was opened on 30 November 2006. The trail is used extensively for recreation.


Lincoln is described by Statistics New Zealand as a small urban area, and covers 9.06 km2 (3.50 sq mi). It had an estimated population of 8,130 as of June 2020, with a population density of 897 people per km2.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 2,820 —    
2013 3,867 +4.61%
2018 6,510 +10.98%

Lincoln, comprising the statistical areas of Lincoln West and Lincoln East, had a population of 6,510 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 2,643 people (68.3%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 3,690 people (130.9%) since the 2006 census. There were 2,136 households. There were 3,165 males and 3,345 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.95 males per female, with 1,356 people (20.8%) aged under 15 years, 1,443 (22.2%) aged 15 to 29, 2,886 (44.3%) aged 30 to 64, and 831 (12.8%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 84.1% European/Pākehā, 5.6% Māori, 1.1% Pacific peoples, 12.0% Asian, and 3.3% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 27.4%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 55.5% had no religion, 33.6% were Christian, 0.6% were Hindu, 1.4% were Muslim, 1.3% were Buddhist and 2.0% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 1,554 (30.2%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 525 (10.2%) people had no formal qualifications. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 2,487 (48.3%) people were employed full-time, 933 (18.1%) were part-time, and 183 (3.6%) were unemployed.

Individual statistical areas
Name Population Households Median age Median income
Lincoln West 2,943 924 33.4 years $25,200
Lincoln East 3,567 1,212 37.8 years $43,500
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800

Educational, research institutions and amenities

Whites Aviation Lincoln NLNZ 00080 1957
Lincoln photographed by Whites Aviation, May 1957

Lincoln has three schools, two primary and one secondary.

  • Lincoln Primary School is a state full primary (Year 1–8) school. It was established in 1866 and has a roll of 530 students as of July 2016.
  • Lincoln High School is a state secondary (Year 9–13) school. It was established in 1959 and has a roll of 1667 students as of July 2016.
  • Ararira Springs Primary School is a state full primary (Year 1–8) school. It opened in 2019 and has a roll of students as of July 2016.

Ararira Springs Primary School is the second primary school for the town. It was tentatively named Lincoln South School and open in February 2019.

Lincoln is the site of Lincoln University. As well as the university, there are a number of other research facilities in Lincoln, including AgResearch, Institute for Plant and Food Research, FAR (Foundation for Arable Research), and Landcare Research. The High Performance Cricket training centre is also based at Lincoln University. Over 400 people are employed at these organisations making Lincoln a busy little country village.

Lincoln also has a maternity hospital, kindergarten and golf course.

Lincoln also hosts the first New Zealand supermarket to have wind turbines generating some of its power: Lincoln New World. The supermarket was built with a number of sustainable initiatives in keeping with the Enviro town it is servicing.

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