Whilst we’re a bit smug about the beauty and opportunity here in North Canterbury, we know that there’s more to life than just the fun stuff. Here you’ll find all the key info on important decisions like education, healthcare, housing and cost of living.

Warren Family, Waikuku Beach

The seasons in North Canterbury vary dramatically, with the climate heavily influenced by the Southern Alps to the west. Long dry spells can occur in summer with temperatures highest when hot dry northwesterlies blow over the plains. Summer temperatures are often cooled by a north-easterly sea breeze, and the typical maximum daytime summer air temperature ranges from 21°C to 32°C.

Snow is common in the mountain ranges during winter and the typical maximum daytime winter air temperature ranges from 7°C to 14°C.

An indication of North Canterbury’s climate can be obtained from the weather stations in the area. However, the climate may be considerably different from these recorded values only a few kilometres away from the weather stations, due to the number of microclimates in the Canterbury area.


What it costs to live in New Zealand, and North Canterbury, may be quite different from your home country. How it compares depends on where you are coming from, your lifestyle, and family circumstances. Immigration New Zealand have created an outstanding resource to calculate your cost of living based on all these variables.

Calculate Your Cost of Living


North Canterbury boasts an excellent range of schooling and educational support options for your children at all ages and stages of their learning journey.

+3% higher results in reading compared to the national average.
+4% higher results in writing compared to the national average.
+3% higher results in mathmatics compared to the national average.
Preschools in North Canterbury

North Canterbury is very well equipped for preschoolers, with kindergartens, preschools, Playcentres and play groups located throughout the district.

Primary & Secondary Schools in North Canterbury

There are also 39 co-educational schools in North Canterbury including small rural primary schools, large high schools and area (composite) schools. View all North Canterbury schools on the Education Counts website. https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/find-school?&region=13&district=58,59#fas-search-section-specific.

Tertiary Education & Vocational Training in North Canterbury

Whilst there are no long-term tertiary education providers in North Canterbury, a number of organisations offer vital stepping stones for school leavers aiming to take the next step in their learning journey:

North Canterbury’s proximity to Christchurch (home to Canterbury University, Ara Intitute of Canterbury and other specialised tertiary education providers) means many North Canterbury students choose to commute when undertaking tertiary study in the city. Excellent internet accessibility throughout much of North Canterbury also means remote learning is an option for many.

North Canterbury is well equipped to provide key health services to residents with a selection of general medical practices, hospitals, midwifery and maternity services, infant care and aged care services throughout both Waimakariri and Hurunui. The region’s proximity to Christchurch means residents are also able to easily access the primary and specialist health services available there.

Doctors & Medical Centres in North Canterbury

There are approximately 16 general medical practices operating in North Canterbury, each offering a number of healthcare services, GP and nurse appointments.

Rangiora Healthcare

North Canterbury Hospitals

North Canterbury is home to three hospitals: Oxford Hospital, Waikari Hospital and Rangiora Health Hub.

Oxford and Waikari Hospitals are small hospitals offering beds for a range of medical needs including post-surgery care, palliative care and general medical care.

Rangiora Health Hub is the largest hospital in North Canterbury. Opened in 2015 it houses a high quality maternity unit and a range of other outpatient and specialist services for the North Canterbury community.

Midwives, Maternity & Infant Care

There are a number of midwives either operating in, or willing to travel to, North Canterbury to provide midwifery support. Browse the Find Your Midwife website to find a local midwife.

For families with newborns, there are approximately 10 Plunket clinics throughout North Canterbury providing health support, classes and information to new parents.

Mothers required to birth at Christchurch Women’s Hospital for any reason can, in most cases, be transferred to Rangiora Health Hub for their postnatal care.

Aged Care in North Canterbury

Approximately 17% of the North Canterbury population is now aged over 65. The increase in North Canterbury’s population, as well as the ageing of the existing population has seen a number of new retirement villages, rest homes and aged care facilities constructed in North Canterbury in recent years meaning our elderly residents are very well cared for.

North Canterbury offers comparatively affordable housing compared to the rest of New Zealand.Average house prices in Waimakariri and Hurunui are $712,755 (as at December 2022) and $609,016 (as at December 2022).   Renting is also relatively affordable compared to cities and other areas of New Zealand.

Real estate supply in North Canterbury has remained consistently high in recent years, offering an excellent range of choice to home buyers. Bare lifestyle blocks are also readily available in rural parts of the district, offering the opportunity to design and build a new home in a remote location.

North Canterbury is home to a large number of professional real estate agents who can connect you with the right property for your needs. Alternatively, you can browse homes for rent or purchase on TradeMe.co.nz or Realestate.co.nz.

Average house value is 49% lower in Waimakariri compared to Auckland
Average house value is 57% lower in Hurunui compared to Auckland
Average rent costs are 22% lower in Waimakariri compared to Auckland in Waimakariri.
Average rent costs are 22% lower in Hurunui compared to Auckland in Waimakariri.

If you’re hoping to make the move to New Zealand and wish to settle in North Canterbury, then the Immigration New Zealand website should be your first port of call.

Work visas

Visa eligibility is based on factors such as whether your skills match a shortage in New Zealand, how long you want to stay, and your age, work experience and qualifications. You can also find information on visas if you’re looking to start a business or invest. Here are a few tips before applying for a visa:

  • Find out if your job skills are in demand at Immigration New Zealand.
  • Your employer will help you through the process.
  • Provide all the information required – incomplete paperwork will cause delays.
  • If you’re not sure of the visa application process, consider using a licensed immigration advisor.

Inland Revenue New Zealand – IRD number

Inland Revenue collects most of the government’s revenue and administer a number of social support programmes. As an employee, they will register you for tax and issue you an IRD number.


You will need to set up a bank account once you have an IRD number. Here is a list of the larger banks who have a physical presence in North Canterbury:

Useful Contacts

Inland Revenue Department 

Waimakariri District Council

Hurunui District Council

In international surveys, New Zealand is rated one of the most peaceful, least corrupt countries.

  • New Zealand was second safest country out of 163 countries on the 2018 Global Peace Index.
  • New Zealand’s homicide rate is just 1.3 in every 100,000 people – the OECD average is 2.6.
  • New Zealanders are considered to have very low access to small arms and light weapons (Economist Intelligence Unit)
  • New Zealand is considered to have the sixth strongest human rights and rule of law in the world (Fund for Peace)


New Zealand is:

  • The 5th most politically stable country in the world (World Bank Political Stability Rankings)
  • The 3rd least corrupt country in the world (Transparency International)
  • The 6th least expensive country to start a business (The World Bank)
  • The 4th least fragile country politically (Fund for Peace)
  • The 10th happiest country (World Happiness Index)
  • The 5th highest proportion of women in parliament (The World Bank)

When you move to North Canterbury you will find an abundance of support services ad networks to welcome you and help you settle. These include:

Whilst large, the North Canterbury region is easy to get around, to and from, with quality infrastructure and public transport.

The Christchurch Northern Corridor was completed in 2020 and provides a four lane motorway and new cycle path between Christchurch and North Canterbury, reducing travel time, easing congestion and offering safe cycle commuting between the two destinations.

The Route 1 line of Christchurch’s Metro Bus Network travels several times daily from Princess Margaret Hospital in south Christchurch, through the central city and via Belfast to Kaiapoi and Rangiora, and back again.

Major roads elsewhere in the region are well maintained, making travel between North Canterbury destinations safe and easy.