Waitaki District

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

Waitaki District
Waitaki District Council building, Thames Street, Oamaru

Coat of arms
Location of the Waitaki District within the South Island
CountryNew Zealand
  MayorGary Kircher [1]
  Parliamentary electorateWaitaki
  Territorial authorityWaitaki District Council
  Total7,148.05 km2 (2,759.88 sq mi)
 (June 2018)[2]
  Density2.9/km2 (7.5/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s)03
WebsiteWaitaki District Council


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.


During the colonial period, the area was also known as Molesworth[3], however the Maori name Waitaki eventually prevailed.


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.

Populated places

Waitaki District consists of the following towns, localities, settlements and communities:


Waitaki District's population is 23,000 (June 2018).[2] Of this, 13,950 (61%) live in Oamaru, the district seat, in Otago.


A relatively sparsely settled area, the District does have a wide 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 increased local ecologic damage and siphoning off capital overseas.[4]


  1. "Council (Waitaki District Council)". Waitaki.govt.nz. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  2. "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2018 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-18 (2017 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  3. "What's In A Name? Geographic Board's Work". Evening Post. 27 April 1934. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  4. Taylor, Gary (8 February 2010). "A national treasure is being squandered". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 February 2010.

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