The Timaru District economy is strongly influenced by its agricultural heritage. From its birth in pioneering sheep farming, our richly productive agricultural sector has grown to become New Zealand's "food bowl".

Today's farming is heavily influenced by dairy, with horticulture, intensive cropping, meat and wool also playing an important role. Significant manufacturing, processing, engineering and distribution operations contribute to extensive export and domestic supply of a wide range of goods and services.

This provides an array of employment opportunities across all sectors from trades and manufacturing to the professional, service and primary sectors. The Timaru District prides itself on having one of the lowest unemployment rates in New Zealand.

Temuka Transport stock truck

The wider South Canterbury region enjoys reliable and accessible water for irrigation and industry - indeed some of the most affordable resource in the country. This continues to provide the impetus for the development and growth of successful food processing and exporting operations. Large scale investment in water storage, quality and management is continuing, helping to ensure a robust, diverse economic future for the District.

Timaru District  – Quarterly Economic Monitor Report September 2018

Positive economic growth has been recorded for Timaru District over the winter months in the latest economic data released today, along with a highlight of strong retail spending and improving job prospects.

The figures are part of the quarterly economic monitor on Timaru District for the year ending September 2018.  They show growth at 2.1%, which is a big improvement on the same period for the previous year, when growth sat at 1.2%.  Timaru District has recorded GDP of $2,376 million for the year to September 2018.

Although nationally dairy prices have come under downward pressure this year, other parts of the primary sector are enjoying bumper returns with export prices for forestry, meat, seafood, and horticultural products between 10-20% above where they were a year ago which has helped boost the Timaru economy.

“The figures are painting a very positive picture for the Timaru District and it bodes well for us going into the peak seasonal production times for our food producers and processors in coming months,” said Nigel Davenport, chief executive of Aoraki Development.

The figures are released from Infometrics in the Quarterly Economic Monitor produced for Aoraki Development.

Highlights of Timaru District  – Quarterly Economic Monitor Report September 2018

Gross Domestic Product

GDP in Timaru District was up 2.1% for the year to September 2018 compared to a year earlier. Growth was lower than in New Zealand (2.9%).

GDP was $2,376 million in Timaru District for the year to September 2018 (2010 prices).

House prices

The average current house value in Timaru District is $362,140 over the September 2018 year, compared to $660,860 in the whole of New Zealand, while in Auckland the average house price for this period is $1,048,686.


Unemployment in the district has fallen again, with Timaru District below the national average at 2.6%, and this is down from 3.2% a year earlier. Nationally the unemployment rate sits at 4.3% over the year for the same period.

Retail Spending

Timaru District appears to be enjoying a boom in retail spending, with retail purchases on electronic cards in the September 2018 quarter totalling $137m, up $6m from a year ago. Over the past year retail spending in Timaru has grown 4.7%, compared to 3.0%pa growth the previous year.

The Timaru District retail spending figures are well up on those recorded for the wider Canterbury region, which showed growth over the same period of 3.9%.The tourism spend from visitors was worth about $223m in Timaru District during the year, up from $209m a year ago.

View the full report here:

Infometrics Quarterly Report Monitor

Timaru District offers a great lifestyle with abundant opportunities. Find out more from residents who've moved here about what Timaru District offers for their lifestyle.

New report highlights Timaru District’s retail spending

Retail spending in Timaru District has grown 4.7 percent in the last year, with around $567 million million being pumped into the local economy.

A new report on retail spending produced for Aoraki Development shows most retail spending comes from locals Timaru town (73.6 percent) while in Geraldine, the importance of the town as the district’s tourist hub is backed up by data on retail spend there, with nearly 40 percent of Geraldine’s retail spending coming from people who live outside the district.  In the year ended March 2018, 6.7 percent of the spending in Geraldine was from international visitors.

Report of Retail Spending in Timaru District 2018

Newly released Megatrends Report 2018

Infometrics has released its new Megatrends Report, titled From Education to the Employment: Megatrends affecting NZ’s working environment.

In the report, Gareth Kiernan, Infometrics’ Chief Forecaster has brought together several megatrends and investigates how these will shape the NZ workforce.

From education to the economy: Megatrends affecting NZ’s working environment is structured around the following themes:

  • The economic environment in which we operate
  • Demographic trends and their challenges
  • The changing nature of education and training

You can read the report here.

Timaru District annual economic profile

The latest Annual Timaru District economic profile produced by Infometrics for Aoraki Development is now available.  The report contains the latest collated figures for the year to the end of March 2018 on aspects of our economy, population and more.

The Community Profile provides information about the people who are currently living in our district - their skills, qualifications, ethnicity and more.

Infometrics Community Profile

Timaru District Council Annual Plan 2016/2017

farmers mill

“Farmers Mill have chosen Timaru, South Canterbury to build our state-of-the art flour mill. The district is central to the arable land which produces the wheat we use to mill 100% NZ Flour. We find the district has a strong economic profile and the services and people we require to build a world class business.”  

Murray Turley, Chairman, Farmers Mill, Timaru