New Zealand’s northernmost region is home to around 180,000 people. Roughly half live in the largest city, Whangarei, around two hours drive from Auckland.
Northland is particularly rich in Māori tradition, having welcomed the canoes of the first explorer Kupe around 800 years ago. Today, around a quarter of Whangarei’s population identify themselves as Māori.
Population (2018 Census)
% born outside NZ:
Average house prices June 2020:
Far North: $488,055
The warm climate and safe harbours also drew the first European settlers, and Paihia, an hour north of Whangarei, was New Zealand’s first seat of government. New Zealand’s founding document, Te Tiriti (The Treaty of Waitangi) was signed just outside Paihia in 1840.
Physically, Northland is one of New Zealand’s most desirable locations. It offers unspoiled white sand beaches, native bush and scenery galore, spectacular fishing and more in a warm, sub-tropical climate that enables outdoor living year-round.
Whangarei itself is a bustling town offering a choice of family homes, town-houses and apartments. There are good schools, a tertiary education provider and excellent community amenities. It offers a range of speciality stores, fashion shops, restaurants, cafes and other entertainment options including a strongly developing arts scene.
A keen sporting community enjoys a full range of facilities including parks, an aquatic centre, an all-weather athletics track and a new events centre which, among other activities, hosted several games in the 2011 World Rugby Cup.
Northland is the destination of choice for many lifestyle-motivated new arrivals who are prepared to live on less, or work harder and drive further, in exchange for the privilege of living here.
Economy and industry
Northland’s main industries are tourism, pastoral farming, wood processing and marine engineering. Some of the world’s most exclusive superyachts have been built in Whangarei.
The deep water harbour at Whangarei is home to the Marsden Point Oil Refinery. Other industries around the region include cement manufacture, wood products and dairy processing.
Around two thirds of the region’s land area is used for pastoral farming, while tourism activity in Northland is higher than the national average
Warm humid summers and mild wet winters, with the country's highest average annual temperatures. Summer maximums range between 22-26°C, occasionally rising above 30°C. Winter maximums vary between 14-20°C.
Occasionally in summer the region experiences storms that are the tail-end of events that started as cyclones higher in the tropics. While warm, Northland can also be quite wet.
Top five migrant populations (2018 Census)
Many migrants have already made Northland home. The table below shows where these migrants are moving from and demonstrates the diverse population you can expect to find in Northland.
It can be comforting to know there are others, similar to you, who have experienced the move.
Country of origin
No. of migrants
UK and Ireland
|Europe (excl. UK and Ireland)||3,223 (1.8%)|
|Middle East and Africa||2,686 (1.5%)|
Now that you know about what Northland has to offer, have a read about everyday life in the region, and services and support you can access.
Upcoming events in your region
Events for new migrants are regularly held throughout the country. Gain local insight into finding a job and getting setup and settled in New Zealand.