The focus is on retaining people acknowledging that the population is ageing and becoming more diverse.

Queens Park Southland New Zealand Credit Jeremy Pierce 9

Murihiku Southland’s population makeup has changed over time and projections show that it’s going to keep changing.  

There are going to be more older people in communities alongside more ethnic diversity.   Understanding who lives in our region, why and where is important as it guides what services, facilities, amenities and infrastructure are provided to enable a desired way of life, now and into the future. 

Research from Infometrics identified four key demographic trends:

  1. Increasing diversity
  2. Ageing population
  3. Slower population growth rate
  4. Increasing Māori population

While it is still very important to attract people to the region as outlined in Southland Regional Development Strategy (SoRDS) in 2015, there is a need to now focus on retaining people and keeping them in the region.  This will be achieved by helping newcomers to settle in quickly and streamlining our welcoming approaches. 

There is also a desire to make sure Southlanders have the same opportunities for equity in wellbeing as other New Zealanders. It shouldn’t matter where you live in terms of quality and access to healthcare, education or other services. However, it is different in Murihiku Southland often because the small population cannot economically sustain some services, such as public transport networks for example. This means the region and its leaders has to think differently to find innovative solutions, and to be strong together as a region to make sure the things that matter are advocated for.

Next Steps


In Progress

"Councils and others consider the best approaches to meet the needs of increasing numbers of older people."

  • Gore District Council continues to deliver its Ready for Living Age Strategy
  • The Housing Action Plan recommends investigation into current and future older aged people in the region to ensure we match their housing needs with supply.

In Progress

"The delivery of the Settlement Support Programme."

  • During the process to develop the Beyond 2025 plan, a settlement support pilot was trialed by Great South and the Southland Business Chamber.  Individual businesses recommended new workers and their families for the programme which supported them to successfully settle by meeting new people and connecting with their interests. The programme is continuing to be delivered.

In Progress

"That there is a prioritised and regionally coordinated approach to all welcoming activities."

In Progress

"That the region continues to prioritise growing our population through attraction and retention strategies outlined in Beyond 2025."

In Progress

"That there is support for our four Papatipu Rūnaka, maata waka and other organisations to meet the needs of a growing Māori population."

Not Yet Started

"The development of a Welcoming Activation Hub."


Not Yet Started

"For consideration of the implications of the “ageing in place” policy on the healthcare and housing sector."