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Waitaki District
Territorial authority
Waitaki District Council building, Thames Street, Oamaru
Waitaki District Council building, Thames Street, Oamaru
Waitaki District Council Crest.jpg
Coat of arms
Waitaki District.svg
Location of the Waitaki District within the South Island
Country New Zealand
  • Ahuriri
  • Waihemo
  • Ahuriri
  • Corriedale
  • Oamaru
  • Waihemo
Formed 1989
Seat Oamaru
 • Land 7,107.94 km2 (2,744.39 sq mi)
 (June 2020)
 • Total 23,500
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
Map of postcodes
Area code(s) 03
Website Waitaki District Council

Waitaki District is a territorial authority that is located in the Canterbury and Otago regions of the South Island of New Zealand. It straddles the traditional border between the two regions, the Waitaki River, and its seat is Oamaru.


It has a land area of 7,151.94 km² (2,761.38 sq mi), of which 59.28% is in the Canterbury Region and 40.72% in the Otago Region. It is the only district in the South Island that lies in two regions. A major reason for this split was the governance of the Waitaki River which forms a political boundary between Canterbury and Otago. With major hydro schemes on this river it was decided to place the entire catchment in one administrative region, thus forming the split. Some people who fall into the Canterbury Region of Waitaki District still regard themselves as part of Otago, and attempts have been made in the past to change the boundary. The district, which is agricultural by nature, comprises the wide alluvial fan of the river, and runs inland along the banks of the river, this forming a roughly triangular region.


The Waitaki District's population is 22,100 (June 2016). Of this, 13,850 (63%) live in Oamaru, the district seat, in Otago.

The Waitaki District is made up of the former Waitaki County, Waihemo County and Oamaru Borough, which were amalgamated in 1989. It is governed by the Waitaki District Council.


A relatively sparsely settled area, the District has a large number of farms. However, in recent times (late 2000s), numerous proposals for new farming operations have locals fearing that the agriculture will be transformed from often family-held farms to large agribusiness operations causing local ecological damage and siphoning off capital overseas.


Waitaki District covers 7,107.73 km2 (2,744.31 sq mi) and had an estimated population of 23,500 as of June 2020, with a population density of 3.3 people per km2.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 20,223 —    
2013 20,829 +0.42%
2018 22,308 +1.38%

Waitaki District had a population of 22,308 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 1,479 people (7.1%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 2,085 people (10.3%) since the 2006 census. There were 9,171 households. There were 10,974 males and 11,331 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.97 males per female. The median age was 45.6 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 4,071 people (18.2%) aged under 15 years, 3,348 (15.0%) aged 15 to 29, 9,819 (44.0%) aged 30 to 64, and 5,070 (22.7%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 88.0% European/Pākehā, 8.2% Māori, 3.8% Pacific peoples, 5.3% Asian, and 1.9% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 15.4, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 47.9% had no religion, 41.5% were Christian, 0.6% were Hindu, 0.3% were Muslim, 0.5% were Buddhist and 1.8% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 2,331 (12.8%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 4,719 (25.9%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $27,700, compared with $31,800 nationally. 2,019 people (11.1%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 8,529 (46.8%) people were employed full-time, 2,826 (15.5%) were part-time, and 441 (2.4%) were unemployed.

Individual wards (2018 boundaries)
Name Area (km2) Population Density (per km2) Households Median age Median income
Ahuriri Ward 4,195.18 1,338 0.32 561 48.6 years $31,100
Oamaru Ward 38.55 13,785 357.59 5,700 46.6 years $26,400
Waihemo Ward 1,321.15 2,289 1.73 1,014 50.3 years $24,500
Corriedale Ward 1,552.86 4,896 3.15 1,896 40.5 years $33,900
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800

Urban areas and settlements

Oamaru, the district seat, is the only town in the Waitaki district with a population over 1,000. It is home to 13,700 people, 58.3% of the district's population.

Other settlements and localities in the district include:

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